Forests and forestry

Forest cover

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

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

The Buddhist monks blessing trees to prevent deforestation

Wrapped in orange robes, occasionally with ornaments nestled into the roots and incense burning at the foot, such trees seen across Thailand could be confused for an art installation. Instead, their decoration is a signifier that the trees have been blessed by a Buddhist monk ...

Rebecca L. Root

Large-scale logging in Cambodia’s Prey Lang linked to politically-connected mining operation

The early onset of Cambodia’s wet season had seen the rain fall thick over Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary, turning freshly cut paths through the forest into a near-impassible slick of churned-up mud. But the torrential weather had done little to deter local loggers, who rode ...

Gerald Flynn|Andy Ball|Vutha Srey

Prey Lang, Prey Preah Roka Monitors Suppressed While Tree Cover Vanishes: Report

Forest watchers in 2020 filed 90 percent fewer reports of illegal logging amid officials’ threats against community patrols, according to an international research report, as one advocate said young people were refraining from joining patrols out of fear of repercussions. Using a combination of satellite data ...

Danielle Keeton-Olsen

How can illegal timber trade in the Greater Mekong be stopped?

Over the past decade, the European Union entered into collaborative agreements with tropical timber-producing countries to fight forest crime and verify the legality of wood imported into the EU. Within the Greater Mekong, Vietnam was the first (and to date, only) country to sign such a voluntary ...

Sheryl Lee Tian Tong

How does political instability in the Mekong affect deforestation?

Myanmar’s rainforests, home to the endangered Malayan tapir (Tapirus indicus), critically endangered Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) and endangered lar gibbon (Hylobates lar), are some of the most biodiverse in the world. But the relative flatness of the terrain, and the valuable timber species found here, ...

Sheryl Lee Tian Tong

Where does the Greater Mekong’s illegal timber go?

After forests are logged, felled trees are typically sent to sawmills, where they’re processed into boards, or lumber. It’s in this processed form that wood typically enters the international commodity supply chain. But not all lumber is created equal. In the Greater Mekong region, high-quality hardwoods ...

Sheryl Lee Tian Tong

Major clothing brands contribute to deforestation in Cambodia, report finds

A drone camera soars over a timber yard where thousands of tons of logs are strewn across the ground. In one clip, a bulldozer scoops up a heap of wood while black smoke billows out of its exhaust pipe. In another, workers load wood onto ...

Elizabeth Claire Alberts

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