News / Asia

Cambodian Villagers Express Helplessness to Protect Forest

Cambodian Villagers Express Helplessness to Protect Prey Lang Foresti
X
June 03, 2014 2:06 AM
Villagers in Cambodia's Prey Lang forest say illegal logging has been on the rise in their area, but they are powerless to prevent the deforestation that threatens their way of life. VOA's Say Mony visited the remote region and has this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Say Mony
Prey Lang is one of Cambodia’s few remaining large forests, covering approximately 3,600 square kilometers across four northern provinces.
 
The forest is home to about 200,000 mostly indigenous people, who depend on it for their livelihoods, according to the Prey Lang Community Network. But, the advocacy group and other locals say, illegal logging threatens their traditional ways of life.
 
In Kratie province one recent day, Hean Chhit and his grandchild were preparing to collect resin, used for making torches and mending boats, from their trees.
 
The 62-year-old farmer used to own a few hundreds of trees, he said. But logging companies came into the area, and now only a few dozen trees remain.
 
“I've been living here [for over 30 years], depending on that plot of rice field and these trees, vines and rattans,” he said. “But since the loggers came to destroy this Prey Lang, what can we rely on for our living?"
 
His wife, Prak Rith, said the family and community rely on the forest to sustain them.
 
“We depend on the resins so that we can buy other necessary commodities and other groceries for our daily life," she said.
 
Heading deep into the forest, this VOA reporter saw several big machines, including excavators and bulldozers.  A group of men guarding them claimed the machines were for paving roads to surrounding villages. But locals say they are used to clear the forest instead.
 
Despite patrols by people living and working in the forest, illegal logging has increased, said Kim Sokhorn, a network representative.
 
The forest has been threatened ever since the government implemented a land concession policy, Sokhorn said.   
 
Government authorities, such as forestry administration officials, “are on the state's payrolls to do the job of preventing and cracking down on illegal logging in the Prey Lang area,” Sokhorn said.
 
Instead, they’ve served corporate interests, Sokhorn charged.
 
Authorities deny the accusation, saying the government's forest and land concession policy is aimed at boosting the national economy and providing jobs to the local community.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Vanny from: Phnom Penh
June 22, 2014 4:31 AM
This issue happens noticeably in Camobodia due to least law enforcements and involvements from government officials. this problem can virtually stop unless government takes tough measures not just saying but acting

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs