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Park slated for eco-tourism, grad student field research

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Techo Sen Russey Treb Park in Preah Vihear province in November. Sok Touch

Park slated for eco-tourism, grad student field research

The Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC) has laid out plans to develop the Techo Sen Russey Treb Park in Preah Vihear province’s Chheb district into an eco-tourism destination with a research facility for students to complete their master’s and doctoral theses.

At a press conference on January 18, RAC president Sok Touch said students from the academy do not sit for final exams but instead have to write a thesis before they graduate. Students will have to study the technique of growing crops, processing and relevant markets in the park.

He said in the past, RAC has never conducted research on these matters, including the recent duck egg production challenge. The eggs are not available in the market and cannot be processed. RAC made a mistake by not researching this, he said.

“In order to write a book, we need experience [and original content]. But, there are many students who plagiarise [the work of others], especially those who write doctoral theses. Doctoral students who do agricultural research about animals must go to the park for field study.

“[The requirements are the same] when it comes to the environment, they have to be on the ground to conduct research. They must not plagiarise the research or study results of others.

“We wanted to turn this area into a [facility for various field of] studies including agriculture, environment, tourism and society. This will help future graduates apply theories they learnt for practical use,” he said.

In addition to developing the area into a research facility, the Techo Sen Russey Treb Park will be transformed into a recreational centre for domestic and international tourists. This will create jobs and generate income for locals, so they will not need to do logging and trade the timber.

Touch added that the focus of the plans is tourism, including eco- and cultural tourism, agricultural produce, and bungalows for elderly people.

He said he is currently looking for investors to develop the area into a tourist attraction, without affecting trees or other natural resources in the forest.

Lor Chan, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, supported the plans. He said the area is rich in natural resources with potential for agricultural and tourism activities to benefit locals.

“It is not a problem if there are serious development plans. But if the state land is converted into private land, as a result [of the development], it doesn’t serve the interests of locals. People continued logging timbers and poaching animals for businesses, which affect natural resources and wildlife,” he said.

The Techo Sen Russey Treb Park was established by a sub-decree dated April 17, 2014. Located in Chheb district’s Chheb I and Chheb II communes, the park covers 114.35sq km.

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