The Sorng Rukhavoan Forest Community on July 17 planted 6,500 hardwood and fruit tree saplings on the degraded land in Konkriel commune’s Chhouk Meas village of Oddar Meanchey province’s Samrong town.

Venerable monk Tho Thou Ros, head of the forest community, said that the tree planting ceremony was held with the theme “Plant trees together for life and the planet” with 1,600 participants in attendance. Of the 6,500 saplings, the APSARA National Authority provided 5,000, the community in Oddar Meanchey provided 1,000 saplings, and another 500 saplings came from the Peace Bridge Organisation. They were planted on 5ha of degraded land.

“The land is near to the access road for a rubber plantation. About 200m from the road, the land was really in poor condition,” he said.

He added that the planting aimed to restore forest cover and contribute to a reduction in global warming and climate change. He hoped it would also instil a love for natural resources in the public.

Thou Ros said there was a pond near to where the planting was done, so the saplings would receive adequate water to grow well. In addition, the community committee will take care of and protect them against fire for the next three to five years. There is another 10ha of land which will be reforested soon, he added.

Huon Vannith, deputy governor of Oddar Meanchey province, said that the establishment of the community has provided locals the opportunity to take part in protecting and conserving natural resources. Replanting forests has also reduced the perceived risks of climate change and led people to lead happier, more prosperous lives.

He added that with the support of relevant ministries and institutions, along with rangers, the Sorng Rukhavoan Forest Community were doing an excellent job of taking care of the forest and its wildlife. The community was united to plant more saplings and encourage the restoration of the Kingdom’s biodiversity.

“By planting these saplings today we increase the number of new trees that will provide shelter to the animals of the forest. This will also help them avoid falling victim to hunters.

“When all these saplings grow, they will provide shelter to passersby. It’s like the old Khmer proverb – When you drink water, think of the source. If you take refuge under a tree, remember to show gratitude for the person who planted it,” he said.