Carving up the Cardamoms: Conservationists fear massive land grab in Cambodia

A new regulation signed into law in March this year but only unveiled publicly in May will see almost 127,000 hectares (313,800 acres) of previously protected land in Cambodia made available for sale or rent, prompting fears among conservationists about a land grab for some of the country’s best-preserved ecosystems.

On paper, Sub-decree No. 30 , signed March 2 by Prime Minister Hun Sen, transfers ownership of 126,928.39 hectares from the Ministry of Environment and the various conservation NGOs that assist in the management of the protected areas, to the Koh Kong provincial administration. Ostensibly, this transfer of land, measuring half the size of Luxembourg, is meant “for distribution to people, while retaining partial land as private property to be held by Koh Kong Provincial Administration.”

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