The Ministry of Environment and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) on January 30 launched the First Protection Area Monitoring Platform (PAMP) in Preah Vihear province to monitor forestry crimes including forest land clearing for private ownership and illegal hunting in natural protected areas.
At the launching ceremony in Preah Vihear, environment ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said that with the support of USAID through its Greening Prey Lang project, Cambodia has taken another step in protecting the environment and natural resources and enhancing the capacity of rangers as well as comprehensive data management.
He explained that PAMP was very important in protecting natural resources because it would provide additional assistance to rangers, such as information related to deforestation and forest land encroachment in protected areas. He said Cambodia did not have this system before.
According to ministry’s plan, this project will be expanded to 70 protected areas in 20 provinces covering more than seven million hectares.
“In Cambodia, there are only 1,200 rangers working to protect and conserve [protected areas] on about seven million hectares, or one ranger for over 10,000ha. That means one person cannot patrol an area this huge.
“So, using modern technology like the PMAP platform that can record all the data would make it more convenient [for rangers] to control the general situation and take immediate measures to tackle crimes.
“This is a very important task for us because if we do not have modern technology in line with the world’s technological advancement, then we will certainly trail behind the perpetrators who also use technology to share information with each other to escape from rangers and flout the law,” he said.
USAID Programme Office Director Carlos Lamadrid said PAMP was established based on existing methods in Cambodia, including geography location and aerial photography reporting equipment using satellite imagery.
Carlos said PAMP would help strengthen law enforcement in response to threats and assist decision-makers in managing natural resources and biodiversity more easily and effectively. The platform will also promote transparency, accountability and attract investment and financing for sustainable conservation programmes.
“This is the first PMAP to be launched in Cambodia and will serve as a model of improvements to study and implement across the country. The programme will also help make management of natural resources faster, more efficient and transparent,” he said.
“Use of this system will support the government to set targets prioritising forest patrol intervention and rapid response, as well as providing important data on protected areas and conservation demographics,” he said.
According to the Preah Vihear provincial environment department report, there are 10 protected areas in Preah Vihear province spanning 965,000ha, with 88 rangers deployed They include six wildlife sanctuaries, two protected landscapes, one natural heritage site and one biodiversity conservation corridor.