As more tourists flood each month into the Angkor temple complex, local authorities continue to puzzle over what to do with the trees that grow on top of several temples.
While the trees can destroy temples, with roots burrowing between the stones, many tourists find the trees part of their temple-viewing experience.
“The issue is sensitive as some people might want to keep the tree for its natural beauty,” said Ang Choulean, chief of Apsara’s culture and monument department. Recently, he said, a tree growing on top of Preah Khan temple fell over, damaging the structure. Ang Choulean said a decision to remove trees from the temples must be made by the Apsara Authority’s governing council.A master plan for dealing with possible tree removal has not yet been approved.
The Apsara Authority has set up a special 12-person maintenance unit which will work at temples sites beginning in May.