Minister of Environment Say Samal on August 2 presided over the inauguration of a bureau and residence for rangers at Preah Jayavarman-Norodom Phnom Kulen National Park in Siem Reap province.

These facilities aim to improve working conditions for rangers and providing a secure location for storing confiscated items.

Samal conveyed his expectations for these new facilities to benefit the community at large.

“We chose to situate the bureau and residence at Phnom Kulen Mountain due to its rich natural resources, biodiversity and historical significance.

“It’s a heritage site that offers numerous benefits, helping us serve the community even more effectively,” he said.

The minister underscored the significant role the new facilities will play in promoting biodiversity conservation, aiding law enforcement and contributing towards the improvement of protected area management.

He also highlighted its potential to open up more opportunities for eco-tourism development.

Sun Kong, director of the provincial environment department, said the new facilities will enhance work efficiency for park officers.

He underlined the role of the bureau and residential complex in demonstrating the participation of all relevant sectors in serving public interest.

“Overall, this bureau and residence are set up by the ministry to serve the interests of communities and authorities at both the provincial and national levels,” he said.

Additionally, Kong pointed out that the new facilities will not only support administrative work but also contribute to other conservation tasks.

“It will also help officials and conservationists in the area of the Kesor Kol Sok An Phnom Kulen Research and Conservation Centre,” he said of .

Beyond the environment, Kong said that the national park will also boost eco-tourism, thereby helping the local economy.

The bureau and residential complex, constructed through the Sustainability of Cambodia Landscape and Ecotourism project, was built between August 2022 and May 2023, costing $160,685.

The complex consists of three interconnected buildings covering an area of 10ha, strategically located at the park’s front in Banteay Srei district’s Tbeng commune.

On the same day, the ministry also inaugurated new facilities the Kesor Kol Sok An Phnom Kulen Research and Conservation Centre, located at the foot of Kulen Mountain. The centre plays a crucial role in promoting and conserving Kesor Kol plants, and aims to attract both domestic and international visitors.

Neth Pheaktra, the ministry’s spokesperson, stated that the centre, established in 2018 and inaugurated this year on August 2, along with the conservation area, covers about 2,000ha.

“These areas serve multiple purposes. Not only are they centres for research and conservation, but they also provide recreational facilities and opportunities for exploring the Kesor Kol. We anticipate this will draw visitors from both within the country and around the globe,” he said.

Pheaktra underscored the centre’s goal to familiarise the public with the diverse species in the area.

He said, “Cambodia is recognised as a country rich in biodiversity of more than 5,000 species of flora and fauna”.

Pheaktra added that the ministry is currently engaged in ongoing research and data compilation on numerous plant and biodiversity species, some of which remain unrecorded.

It’s estimated that Cambodia is home to at least 500 species of wild Kesor Kol orchids. The ministry is intent on studying these species with the aim of conserving them, collecting data, and creating new breeds.

He stressed the centre’s role in not only promoting scientific research but also encouraging public involvement in conservation efforts.

Pheaktra said, “This centre also aims to cultivate the spirit of the people to participate in the protection and conservation of flora biodiversity, which is valuable for Cambodia, while the Kesor Kol is an endangered wild flower that is important and valuable economically”.