Global Witness Report Details Illegal Logging

Global Witness submitted forest crime reports to the government last week detailing illegal logging operations in Kratie and Mondolkiri provinces’ Snuol Wildlife Sanctuary and at timber concessions in Kratie and Kom­pong Thom provinces.

Mike Davis of the London-based NGO said the reports—which included aerial photo­graphs, geographical coordinates and descriptions of the activities—were given to the Depart­ment of Forestry and Wildlife in the Ministry of Agriculture and to the Ministry of Environment before being released publicly in hopes the authorities would stop the logging.

The evidence listed in the report included clear-cut areas, harvested timber and sawmills.

“You go into the forest and find these things all the time,” Davis said on Monday.

As for the several sawmill sites identified on the Pheapimex Co’s logging concession in Kratie and Kompong Thom, Davis said it was not the first time such forest crimes had been found there.

“It may have nothing to do with the company, but it is its responsibility,” he said. “It seems hard to believe the company would not know about it.”

Chhay Samith, director of the Department of Nature Conserv­ation and Protection in the Minis­try of Environment, acknowledged Monday that land clearing occurs in the Snuol Wildlife Sanc­tuary. He said his department has tried to curtail the operations but they still continue, especially in the Mon­dolkiri section. “Our team is still gathering a report,” he said.

Pol Kham Nare, director of Kompong Thom’s provincial forestry office, said Monday that a three-day crackdown was conducted last week in the Pheap­imex concession.

A 26-member team of government officials and local authorities burn­ed logging machinery, in­clud­ing trucks, a tractor, a trailer, saw­mills and chain saws, he said. About 18 cubic meters of illegally harvested timber was also de­s­troyed.

Pol Kham Nare said the contraband could not be confiscated due to its remoteness. The sites razed included one ment­ioned in the Global Witness report, he said.

Global Witness, which served as the government’s official forest monitor until the end of last month, has said it will continue to work in Cam­bodia independently in hopes of reining in the country’s rampant illegal logging and improving law enforcement.


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