More than 100 conservation activists from across four provinces are “worried” about a recent government sub-decree aimed at protecting Prey Lang forest, claiming the measure lacks broad input and will not prevent illegal logging in the area.
The representatives of the Prey Lang network, a group that advocates for the protection of the forest, met earlier this week to discuss a sub-decree establishing the Prey Lang forest as a conservation area.
Network member Seng Sok Heng said yesterday that the group “found some points that we don’t like, such as the fact that the Prey Lang communities were not invited to join discussions of the sub-decree, and some articles are unclear”.
The network also claimed the proposed conservation area excluded a large swath of land dense with rosewood trees, and therefore would not be effective in preventing illegal logging.
The advocates also took issue with the fact that the sub-decree prohibits villagers from collecting vines and roots from the forest.
Yem Sokhouy, a member of the Prey Lang network from Stung Treng province, said more than 10,000 residents from more than 300 villages earn a living from the forest by collecting such items for medicinal use.
Following the two-day meeting, the network sent a letter to Chan Sarun, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, outlining its feedback.
“We…demand three points from the ministry and the government: the government must include civil society and villagers in the discussion, it must stop providing land concessions in Prey Lang to private companies, and it must create a larger area of coverage,” Seng Sok Heng said.
“We are worried about this sub-decree,” he added.
MAFF Minister Chan Sarun could not be reached for comment yesterday.