Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Prey Lang a biodiversity ‘hot spot’: study




Prey Lang a biodiversity ‘hot spot’: study

A crab-eating mongoose in Prey Lang Forest looks to escape a turtle trap earlier this year in the north-central region of the Kingdom.
A crab-eating mongoose in Prey Lang Forest looks to escape a turtle trap earlier this year in the north-central region of the Kingdom. JEREMY HOLDEN

Prey Lang a biodiversity ‘hot spot’: study

Forestry officials are hoping that a new report released yesterday naming the Prey Lang forest as one of the world’s top 10 biodiversity hot spots will strengthen a proposal to declare the forest a protected area.

The assessment, which was requested by the Forestry Administration (FA) and USAID, and delivered by NGO Conservation International (CI), found that Prey Lang ranks as “one of the more significant areas of lowland evergreen forest in the Indo-Burma region”.

The forest, which spans four provinces – Kratie, Kampong Thom, Stung Treng and Preah Vihear – is home to almost 1,000 species of flora and fauna, a main livelihood source for the 250,000 people living in adjacent areas and a watershed for the Tonle Sap Lake, from which a significant proportion of the national economy derives.

However, a lack of effective patrolling and law enforcement, according to the report, has led to increased illegal encroachment, settlement, logging and hunting in the forest.

“Illegal logging is evident throughout the landscape and occurring at an alarming rate,” said USAID Forests and Biodiversity project specialist Mengey Eng.

“Meanwhile, illegal wildlife threat is also flourishing and many species … could be found slain and for sale in local markets.”

The FA has drafted a sub-decree requesting the government designate the 300,000-hectare forest an official protected area, said CI technical adviser Tracy Farrell.

“We’re hoping that this report will drive the point that Prey Lang needs a higher degree of protection and attention … as protected areas usually attract more funds for increased resources and enforcement,” she said.

The FA has mobilised law enforcement on the provincial and district levels, while grassroots groups consisting of locals like the Prey Lang Community Network have set up community patrols to keep poachers and illegal loggers out of the area.

“But it’s not enough at all,” Farrell said. “They don’t really have many facilities and they need extra ranger stations and motorbikes, among other resources.”

According to Farrell, the FA intends to send its request to ratify the sub-decree to the Council of Ministers before the end of the year.

The forestry body is also in discussions with NGOs and residents regarding where the forests’ official boundaries should lie.

FA officials declined to comment .

MOST VIEWED

  • Chikungunya hits 15 provinces, says gov’t

    Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said on Thursday that the chikungunya outbreak in the Kingdom has spread to 15 provinces. Some 1,700 people are now suspected to have the disease. Vandine urged people to prevent its further spread by eliminating shelters for the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes

  • Body of woman killed in Bangkok returns

    The Cambodian embassy in Thailand is working to repatriate the body of a casino dealer who was shot dead in Bangkok on Monday night. Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation spokesman Kuy Kuong told The Post on Wednesday that officials are preparing paperwork to

  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as