Environment and natural resources

Forests and forestry

Report: Forest encroachment for maize cultivation increased in Lower Mekong

Industrial-scale maize cultivation to produce animal feed, one of the two main reasons behind annual smog in the three Lower Mekong countries, has grown on a massive scale, satellite data analysis has revealed. More than 11.8 million rai (4.7 million acres) of forested area in the ...

Subel Rai Bhandari for RFA

License to Log: Cambodian military facilitates logging on Koh Kong Krao and across the Cardamoms

KOH KONG, Cambodia — “I think there’s a 30% chance we’ll have trouble with the police,” said Ly Chandaravuth, an environmental activist with the outlawed group Mother Nature Cambodia. This was in August 2022, when Mother Nature Cambodia was planning a trip to Koh Kong Krao, ...

Gerald Flynn

As Laos develops, can it make space for wild elephants?

Mae Sengchan and Mae Kham meandered down the banks of the Mekong River in Laos, munching on bunches of bananas and piles of sugarcane. In their mid-to-late-fifties, the rescued pair of endangered Asian elephants are far past their logging days. The two are now in the ...

BEATRICE SIVIERO and ANTON L. DELGADO

Cassava export boom leading to deforestation and poor air in Laos

Farmers are encroaching on national parks and protected forests in Laos, burning and clearing large areas to make room for cassava crops. The demand for cassava has seen it become the most profitable agricultural product in Laos, as demonstrated by the country’s February trade figures: cassava ...

Laotian Times/ANN

‘You don’t kill people to protect forests’: New Thai parks chief raises alarm

The controversial whistleblower who helped expose corruption in Thailand’s parks department has gained a major promotion — and increased scrutiny of his own checkered history, which includes two murder charges, a corruption investigation, and multiple allegations of human rights abuses. Senior forest officer Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn arrived ...

Kannikar Petchkaew

Traders defy the law to import more teak into the USA from Myanmar than before the coup

Despite sanctions put in place against the brutal military junta in Myanmar, US traders continue to source precious teak from the country for luxury yachts and flooring. The allegations are made in the new EIA report Acts of Defiance – How US traders are ignoring sanctions to import ...

Cambodian plan to allow hunting in protected areas worries conservationists

Hunting in Cambodia’s protected areas and forests would be legal in some cases under a proposal from the country’s Ministry of Environment that conservation groups fear could lead to abuses that threaten wildlife populations, according to drafts of rule changes seen by RFA.  The ministry is ...

Jack Adamović Davies

India Should Exercise Caution Over Myanmar Timber Imports

The confusion over Myanmar timber exports to India was laid to rest last month when the central government in New Delhi informed the Indian border state of Mizoram that timber was not on the restricted list of commodities from Myanmar. New Delhi’s directive was in response to a ...

RAJEEV BHATTACHARYYA

Vietnam’s minorities lose right to farm forests

One afternoon at the end of 2017, officials in Dakrong district in Central Vietnam’s Quang Tri province visited Ho Thi Nieng’s house. They claimed she and her husband had “burned the protected forest to do farming.” “We had been cultivating that land for a long time ...

Nguyen Dac Thanh

Pristine bay in Phuket under threat from marina developers

A marina developer has plans to turn one of Phuket’s few remaining mangrove forests into a new gateway for luxury yachts and cruises post the Covid-19 pandemic period. In Ao Kung, a quiet bay in the northern part of bustling Phuket island, Sujirtra Thothip stood in ...

Wanpen Pajai

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