September 15, 2018
Wildlife Alliance rangers from the Green Peafowl Station (Sre Ambel) seized an excavator and a bulldozer that was being used to clear forest bordering the Southern Cardamom National Park. The area is under Forestry Administration protection but Wildlife Alliance rangers intervened to stop the forest destruction. Cambodia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry Administration submitted the case for Land Encroachment at the Sihanoukville Court. Two men were arrested and sentenced to prison. The excavator and the bulldozer were confiscated as state property.
Wildlife Alliance protects one of the largest contiguous rainforests in Southeast Asia forming a critical part of the Indo-Burma global biodiversity hotspot. With an original habitat encompassing 237,300,000 hectares, only 5% of the Indo-Burma forest remains today and Cambodia represents almost 20% of this remaining rainforest. The Cardamoms are significant for biodiversity conservation supporting more than 50 IUCN threatened species of vertebrates. The landscape is also the most important watershed for southwest Cambodia, providing ecosystem services as the region’s largest climate regulator and carbon sink.
It is crucial to keep the forest surrounding the national park intact in order to keep the ecosystem healthy. Destroying the forest bordering the protected national park creates an edge. This boundary between open land an rainforest causes sunlight and wind to penetrate a much greater area, drying out the interior of the forest close to the edge and encouraging the growth of different flora and a disruption in the animal species that occupy the land. Our Southern Cardamom Forest Protection Program works with the Royal Government of Cambodia to protect the Cardamom Rainforest Landscape and the surrounding through robust on-the-ground law enforcement, patrolling, and judicial follow-up – ensuring that the entire rainforest remains intact.