Cambodian official implicated in illegal forest clearing scandal

15.02.2017

Forest inside the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary Photo: Edward Pollard for World Conservation Society, Cambodia

 The Director of a rural development department in one of Cambodia’s eastern provinces has illegally cleared forest inside the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary to plant cashew trees and other crops, according to authorities.

The allegations were brought against Yun Saroum by a local forest community in Mondulkiri province and were investigated by a special committee. With the help of land management data, the committee concluded last week that illegal clearance of 50 hectares of forest had occured.

The land in question is community managed forest located inside the Sanctuary. Saroum was reportedly neither able to say how much he had paid for the land, nor had documents to prove rightful ownership. He claimed that he bought the land seven years ago from an indigenous minority group. However, a spokeperson for the land rights group Adhoc, said that Saroum should have been aware that  the group did not have any right to sell the land

Authorities have reportedly said the land has been confiscated and will be given to the Phnong community to manage. The case is still under investigation.

The Sanctuary, which covers almost 300,000 hectares, contains several endangered species, and is vital to the conservation of primates, Asian elephants and several species of birds. It is home to many communities, for whom the forest has great economic, spiritual and cultural value.

Last month,  NASA released dramatic images showing the extent of deforestation in Cambodia. Just three per cent of the country remains covered in primary forest.

Read more here.

More from Blog

Paraguayan leather / Are Italian tannery’s pledges on deforestation enough?

Continue reading
EU Deforestation Regulation / Success of landmark deforestation law far from assured 

Continue reading
EU Law / MEPs must strengthen planned corporate sustainability due diligence law

Continue reading
G7 Sanctions / Cash from "conflict timber" still flowing into Russia and Belarus

Continue reading
Interview / Earthsight spoke to Andrei Sannikov about the urgent need for strong sanctions on Russian and Belarusian timber

Continue reading
Indigenous rights / “We are in mourning, but we carry on with our struggle”

Continue reading
EU Policy / EU agrees on much needed landmark law, but work still needed to fully protect forests and communities

Continue reading
FSC / Crucial reforms blocked by industry actors

Continue reading
The USA / Despite pledges, the US continues to fund deforestation

Continue reading
The Fixers / Key Findings From Earthsight and Mongabay's Investigation

Continue reading

Stay up to date with all Earthsight news & updates

Receive email updates for the latest news and insights from Earthsight and be among the first to read our new investigations.

We keep your data secure and don’t share anything with third parties. Read full terms.