National Parks Find Funding

Conservation groups have funded a $140,000 project in Bokor and Ream national parks that will take stock of plant life and provide additional equipment for park rangers.

“The project is to study species of plants and to train human re­sources,” acting Conservation Di­rector Chay Samith said Wed­nes­day at a press conference.

The International Union Con­ser­vation of Nature and the World Con­servation Union pro­vided funds to conduct plant surveys in the two southern parks. The 11-month project started last month and runs through Au­gust.

If successful, the project could bring $1 million in funding, Chay Samith said.

In addition to identifying and surveying plants, the project will assess the ecology in both parks.

Bokor is a 140,000-hectare park in Kampot province and Ream covers 150,000 hectares near Sihanoukville.

The funding comes as a Euro­pean Commission-funded Sup­port Pro­gram to the Environ­mental Sec­tor in Cambodia end­ed a $600,000 management program to aid Bokor in Septem­ber.

Since then, environmental officials claim 500 hectares of trees have been illegally felled to make way for more durian, rambutan and pineapple plantations.

Under the EC program, 25 park rangers were patrolling Bo­kor daily. Without the funds, they ran out of money for gasoline and had to cut back patrols.

Part of the new World Con­ser­vation funding will be used to provide equipment and pay salaries for park rangers.


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