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Woodlands Threatened with Rampant Speculation by Factions

Woodlands Threatened with Rampant Speculation by Factions

SIEM REAP-The ongoing logging and export of timber products by Cambodian factions

is threatening the vitality of forests in this northwestern province as well as threatening

the integrity of the Paris peace accords.

"The forests are being threatened by out-of-control logging, especially by the

guerrilla factions who control some parts of the province and do not consider the

quality of the wood products they remove," said Vanth Sophana, manager of the

State of Cambodia Forestry Department in Siem Reap province. The factions might also

be ignoring environmentally-sensitive methods of logging that still preserve the

forests, Vanth added.

About 40 percent of the Siem Reap forests are now logged out. If the pace of the

logging continues, Vanth noted, his department must begin planting replacement trees

in the province.

Vanth made a distinction between the impact of locals foraging for firewood and the

timber industry logging for wood products and construction materials. Burning cleared

forests for farming is also a hazard to the woodlands in Siem Reap, he said.

Because of the high profits available in trading Cambodian timber with foreign nations,

presently Vanth estimates there are 17 to 32 sawmills working overtime in Siem Reap

alone.

The State of Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge currently have contracts with foreign countries

to provide timber. A nationwide logging ban is scheduled to go into effect on Dec

31. The Khmer Rouge have indicated that any sanctions against their profit-making

endeavors is a threat to the success of the peace process.

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