The Worst Drought in Half a Century
Deforestation, which is a leading cause of desertification, is a serious prevailing issue in Cambodia. Satellite data from the Global Forest Watch has revealed that Cambodia has lost 1.75 million hectares (4.32 million acres) of forest since 2001 and the country has some of the fastest accelerating rates of tree loss in the world. This rampant deforestation not only leads to desertification but also contributes to drought and flash floods. Without forest cover, less water is released into the atmosphere to form clouds and rain. Trees are also very important for regulating water flow into rivers and help maintain higher water levels in the rivers during the dry seasons. Conversely, during the rainy season, there are more floods because there are no trees to soak up the water and the degraded soil is less absorbent. In recent years, Cambodians have been experiencing much more extreme wet and dry seasons and in 2016 experienced the worst drought in half a century.