Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Forests under threat

A new report claims economic land concessions are eating into Cambodia’s forested areas. (Photo by: Post Staff)
Monday, 17 January 2011
Vong Sokheng and James O’Toole
The Phnom Penh Post

The Forestry Administration has warned that the government will not meet its goal of achieving 60 percent forest cover nationwide if it continues parcelling out the Kingdom’s territory in economic land concessions.

According to the Forestry Administration’s 2010 annual report, released last week and obtained today, more than 1.3 million hectares worth of economic land concessions have been granted to date.

This figure represents roughly 7 percent of Cambodia’s total territory, an area larger than Kampong Speu and Kampot provinces combined.

Citing data obtained via satellite imagery, the Forestry Administration said 56.94 percent of Cambodia is now forested, a decrease of 2.15 percent from 2006.

“This result is a sign to warn the Forestry Administration as well as the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries that the government’s Millennium Development Goal of 60 percent forest cover may not be met because of the trend of loss due to economic land concessions,” the administration said, noting that a number of additional concessions are under consideration.

“A review is much-needed in order to evaluate concession land, and land that has not been used according to the concession contract should be seized for conservation purposes.”

Rights groups have alleged that much of the territory granted in economic land concessions is cleared and left to lie fallow without a clear purpose.

In a statement issued last May, the Cambodian Human Rights Action Committee called on the government to place a moratorium on economic land concessions until a proper monitoring system was put in place.

The new figures on land concession area represent an increase of roughly 300,000 hectares from 2006.

David Emmett, the regional director for Conservation International, said the legal framework surrounding economic concessions needed to be strengthened in order for Cambodia to preserve its forest cover and take advantage of conservation programmes.

Under the most prominent of such schemes, the United Nations’ Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation programme, or REDD, countries can “offset” their own carbon emissions by paying other countries to conserve their forests.

“There’s a lot of donors and governments wanting to invest in Cambodia … [but] they don’t know if they can be sure that the area that is designated, for example, as a REDD-filed demonstration site, will not suddenly have a new, 10,000-hectare economic land concession,” Emmett said.

The Forestry Administration’s forest cover figure of 56.94 percent “sounds about right”, Emmett said, adding that Cambodia’s forestry loss has not been occurring as quickly as in other countries in the region.

He noted, however, that areas of degraded forest or partially cleared land are sometimes tallied as forested.

“It doesn’t necessarily fully represent the quality of the forest as well as the quantity of the forest,” he said.

“You can look at something and say it’s still forest, but actually 30 percent of the trees are gone.”

The FA reported that at least 7,977 hectares worth of trees were cleared illegally last year, though it said forestry officials “paid attention and played an active role in combating forestry crimes”.

Prime Minister Hun Sen announced a crackdown on illegal logging last year, sacking former Forestry Administration head Ty Sokun in April for his alleged failure to stamp out the practice. Approximately 10,000 cubic metres of illegally wood were ultimately seized in 2010, and 82 Cambodians are now awaiting trial in connection with logging offences, the FA report said.

Human Rights Party spokesman Yem Ponharith said, however, that high-level officials involved in the illegal logging trade were seldom prosecuted and continued to profit from it.

“There have been a number of raids against illegal loggers, but the smuggling of luxury wood continues because of bribes paid to government officials,” he said.

The HRP, he added, has been consistently ignored in its calls to conserve forests and reduce land concessions.

Last May, neighbouring Indonesia declared a moratorium on land concessions in forested areas in a bid to increase its forest cover and preserve territory for use in potential REDD projects, though this move was delayed earlier this month.

Chan Sarun, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, could not be reached for comment today, while Forestry Administration director Chheng Kim Sun declined to comment.


Anonymous said...

All poticalical party if you want to win, you must make people hope and believed in futur, what will benifite to nation if you run the country. your political plateform must be beter than Hun sen. Can any one of you Sam Rainsy or Kem sokha show clear pland or pictur how you could 1000 percent drive youn out?. you have to make people believe in your system or your blue print, I notice that most of you are just arouse people anger, and you are not responsible for what you did. please take mentor to help you, or you must be chang your stratergy, so far what you had don is not smart at all, and try to see yourself as you are very much alike, you are not deferent from man and women around you, you don't have such supperio qualily at all. Mike



Anonymous said...

i think in cambodia, certain areas of the country should be preserved and protected while some areas that need to be developed and deemed important to be developed must be encouraged to develop and change for the sake of living standard and better cambodia's economy, border demarcation, etc... so, there should be studies to determine how to better manage the country's natural resources, etc, even wildlife, etc, need their home protected, too, you know!

Anonymous said...

Khmer people must know the Forest belong to Khmer people...not some stupid person who cut and sell to make profits. Wake up Khmer people!

Anonymous said...

Deforestation is Cambodia's silent tragedy, second in magnitude and agony only to the Pol Pot years.

The fact that this calamity is being overlooked by Cambodians and their authorities alike tells us a great deal about their spiritually impoverished state.


Anonymous said...

Be reminded that we,human being , are part of nature.
When it comes to imbalance destruction of nature(environment) as for your greed, you are destroying yourselve.

Living with nature and the balance of manmade and nature,WILL provide you safety and harmony.

Soil,water,air,fire are to maintain for growth and living.

Stop destroying the nature before the nature destroys you, in the false name of development!.

Please consider!


Anonymous said...

Sam rainsy I feel sorry to those who used to believed in you.
if we consider the statistice or or national census, we have about 5,7 millions population in 1980. for every 20 years it doulbe the number, now 32 years it about 14 million it just right fiquer. yes there are some veitnamese lived in Cambodia but, if like you said 5 million it must 1 of them live next to every Cambodian house, please give sense of fairness. Being exagerate in politice or in convincing some one, smart people they don't do that, wasn't it right? people will find out some day it make you looked like you are a lier. do you have any concret profe or absolut profe to me does Sam rainsy he truly a Khmer compatriot? really? Now looke into the Past, any one heard about Sam rainsy durring darknese period from 1975 to 1992, Sam Rainsy he graduated in 1978, he knew everything happen in cambodia, why we never heard about him. Just say the truth okay, Sam is chinese, chinese Sam is Chines not khmer he try all posible tools to get power and robe more money from Khmer, all of you in here, you should see the only way Khmer compatriot does to his nation is those who build school and educate people, bring peace safty, build strong economy, strong miltary, try to get more invester, and give deriction to security food suply and build more hospital or health care services, now you see who is the traitor and who is the Khmer compatriat, don't you see? thank you for let me know that most believer in SRP are people who have no vission and never responsible anythings they do, and you are one of them. don't you?. sorry for any gentlemen who read this article

Anonymous said...

currently: DESSERT STORM

Anonymous said...

This is the so call land concession...

After deforestation some of them they did not do anything with the land. They only interested in the selling the tree.

99 years land concession what a vision for CPP. They can see the future very clear now since there is no tree to block their vision...

Traitors you sold out our Cambodia for your own greed.

Anonymous said...

Their are many places need to be developed but not in the forest for god sake ,

These people are destroying Cambodia for their greed did not care about the next generation at all.

Greedy bitch. May you die like the TREE

Anonymous said...

Srok khmer roleay rolot doy sar snar day ah Sdech NORODOM XIHANOUK, boeuk day oy ah yuon yiek cong heuy ning ah chhkei HUN XEN joy mray...

Som khmer teang oss phd'ach monosanh-jetana jenh pee ah kbot jeat , kom tveu kluon kamsort sork sangrang youm sreik ... pourk vea min mean matar thour anet bang b'aun tei.... boeu min hean samlab vea mun tei keu vea ning samlab bang b'aun pum carn.

Samrek proleung khmer