Deforestation in Cambodia

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The effects of deforestation and subsequent flooding can be seen from space on ordinary satellite images. This image is from the Terra satellite in 2002.

Cambodia has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, third to only Nigeria and Vietnam, according to a 2005 report conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).[1]

Cambodia's primary rainforest cover fell dramatically from over 70% in 1970 at the end of the Vietnam War to just 3.1% in 2007.[2] Deforestation is accelerating at an alarming rate, with overall rate of total forest loss at nearly 75% since the end of the 1990s. In total, Cambodia lost 25,000 square kilometres of forest between 1990 and 2005, 3,340 square kilometres of which was primary forest. As of 2007, less than 3,220 square kilometres of primary forest remain, with the result that the future sustainability of Cambodia's forest reserves is under severe threat.[3]

According to a 2015 report, U.K. environmental rights group Global Witness places Cambodian timber magnate Try Pheap at the center of a large illegal logging enterprise driving Cambodia's rarest tree species to the brink of extinction. The report concludes that the operation of the illegal logging is being done with the collusion of government and military officials with virtually all of the illegally cut and transported wood going to China.[4]

Rare wood types threatened with extinction[edit]

The organization Global Witness says a vast illegal logging operation is driving the country's rarest tree species to the brink of extinction with government and military officials acting with impunity to keep the operation functioning. The Global Witness report said, "government and industry insiders, including people who work for Okhna Try Pheap, indicated that entrenched corruption had ensured loggers in his network were given safe passage and immunity from timber confiscations and penalties."[5]

Community forestry units in Cambodia[citation needed][edit]

Province No. districts No. communes No. Community Forestry units Area (km²) Supporting organizations
Banteay Meanchey 2 3 5 10.74 CARERE, IFAD
Battambang Province 6 6 17 39.5 ADESS, CARERE
Kampong Chhnang Province 3 9 13 8.48 Concern
Kampong Speu Province 2 4 4 4.385 Oxfam-American, Prasac II, LWS, GTZ
Kampong Thom Province 3 3 12 7.001 CFRP
Kampot Province 3 3 12 50.355 GTZ/RDP
Koh Kong Province 2 2 2 32.54 CFRP, AFSC/SLP
Kratie 4 5 12 16.378 SMRP/CFRP
Mondulkiri Province 2 2 2 3.26 SMRP/CFRP
Oddar Meancheay Province 5 6 12 5.581 GCP/CMB/NZE/CFI
Preah Vihear Province 3 5 2 5.885 BPS, Oxfam GB
Pursat Province 5 11 13 33.443 Seila, Ausaid, Concern, ADESS
Ratanakiri 6 11 12 125.51 NTFP, CBNRM, IDRC/PLG/SEILA/UNDP
Siem Reap Province 11 25 35 115.297 FAO, IFAD ADESS, EPDO
Svay Rieng 2 4 1 17.04 Oxfam GB, CIDSE, CRS
Takeo Province 3 5 1 4.7517 eht MCC/DFW/MAFF


  1. ^ Butler, Rhett A. "Nigeria has worst deforestation rate, FAO revises figures". November 17, 2005.
  2. ^ "Brief on National Forest Inventory - Cambodia" (PDF). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. June 2007. Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  3. ^ "Logging threatens Cambodian tragedy - UN". Thomson Reuters. March 6, 2003.
  4. ^ Peter, Zsombor (2015-02-06). "Timber Trader Try Pheap Linked to Logging Racket". Cambodia Daily. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
  5. ^ Gerin, Roseanne (2015-02-06). "China's Appetite for Luxury Rosewood Fuels Illegal Timber Trade in Cambodia". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved 12 June 2016. 

External links[edit]