Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rosy take on logging prompts scepticism

Rosy take on logging prompts scepticism

Environment Minister Say Samal speaks yesterday at a forum on the protection and conservation of natural resources organised by the ministry in Phnom Penh.
Environment Minister Say Samal speaks yesterday at a forum on the protection and conservation of natural resources organised by the ministry in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

Rosy take on logging prompts scepticism

Attendees at a forum on the protection of natural resources yesterday largely described a drop in the scale of illegal logging, echoing government claims of success in a crackdown launched last year, though other conservation activists not in attendance said that painted a false picture.

The Ministry of Environment-organised event was designed as a way to collect input for a forum to be presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen next month.

Hoeun Sopheap, an activist operating in the the Prey Lang forest, which spans five provinces, was one of many to say they had noticed a slowdown in illegal logging. Even so, he said, all the small-scale logging added together represented “a lot”.

Another activist working in Prey Lang, Chea Sokhoeun, requested a ban on the import of chainsaws, saying they were easy to hide and use. According to his community survey, there are at least 900 chainsaws in three communes in Stung Treng’s Thala Barivat district.

Environment Minister Say Samal told attendees that the ministry was trying to provide alternative jobs to people who mostly depended on forest products, adding that he would also move to ban the import of chainsaws.

But independent analyst Marcus Hardtke yesterday argued there was little reason for the positive sentiment on display. “[Illegal loggers are] moving away from big trucks … to small trucks, [but] … it’s still organised crime,” he said.

Hardtke said people were cautious of “speaking the truth” in these formal meetings and called for a more continuous dialogue between civil society organisations and the government.

Seng Sokheng of the Prey Lang Community Network sounded a similar note, saying that only small-scale loggers were busted, while bigger tycoons and government officials could continue unharmed.

“If they catch the [bigger loggers], they will release them after one or two nights,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • Four-pillar approach in reopening of tourism: PM

    Cambodia is drawing up a four-strategy approach to promptly restore domestic and international tourism activity and put the industry on a transition pathway to a sustainable and inclusive model that is resistant to future crises, according to Prime Minister Hun Sen. The prime minister made

  • Airline says ready for green light to reopen international tourism

    Sky Angkor Airline Co Ltd on September 21 said it is ready to transport South Korean and Chinese tourists to the Kingdom once the Cambodian government makes good on plans to reopen its borders to vaccinated travellers. The Siem Reap-based airline made the remark during a

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Cambodian bride ‘badly treated, held captive’ by Chinese man seeks help

    A Cambodian woman who travelled to China to marry a Chinese man there was “badly treated” by her husband’s family and then had to be rescued and will be returned to Cambodia to ensure her safety. The rescue operation came about after the 25-year-old