In Cambodia, few protected areas are under as much threat from deforestation as the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary. For years, this protected area, which covers some 430,000 hectares across Kratie, Stung Treng, Kampong Thom, and Preah Vihear provinces in north-central Cambodia, has been gradually hollowed out by logging operations linked to well-connected tycoons and government officials.
Last year a report found that Prey Lang had lost more than 100,000 hectares of forest between 2000 and 2019, around 24 percent of its total land area. More than half of this was converted into plantations of cash crops, mostly rubber.
And according to satellite images and remote sensing data, illegal logging operations have only continued to intensify inside Prey Lang, as the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) government has ramped up its offensive against local activists fighting to keep the loggers at bay.