The figure of poverty distribution included in the article “Shifting Economy Feeds Nation’s Uncertain Politics” (May 11) illustrates the striking concentration of poverty in areas of Cambodia where deforestation is highest.
Prey Lang, Boeng Per, the forests of Oddar Meanchey—areas where, as documented in these pages, the management of natural resources has been ineffective.
Contrast this with Koh Kong province: unique in supporting extensive forests and biodiver- sity and communities in which poverty is below the national average.
It is no coincidence that this is also the province that has benefited from the most effective program of forest protection by both government and civil society.
Effective forest protection needs to be regarded as among the best methods of combating poverty in this country.
Thomas Gray is the Director of Science Wildlife Alliance Phnom Penh.