CAMBODIA. ENDANGERED PARADISE.

(Versión en español AQUÍ)

ta-prohm-temple-cambodia-wallpapers

(from Wikipedia article “Cambodia”)

Cambodia’s landscape is characterized by a low-lying central plain that is surrounded by uplands and low mountains and includes the Tonle Sap (Great Lake) and the upper reaches of the Mekong River delta. Extending outward from this central region are transitional plains, thinly forested and rising to elevations of about 650 feet (200 meters) above sea level.

Cambodia’s climate, like that of the rest of Southeast Asia, is dominated by monsoons, which are known as tropical wet and dry because of the distinctly marked seasonal differences.

Cambodia has a wide variety of plants and animals. There are 212 mammal species, 536 bird species, 240 reptile species, 850 freshwater fish species (Tonle Sap Lake area), and 435 marine fish species. Much of this biodiversity is contained around the Tonle Sap Lake and the surrounding biosphere.[96] The Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve s a unique ecological phenomenon surrounding the Tonle Sap. It encompasses the lake and nine provinces: Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Battambang, Pursat, Kampong Chhnang, Banteay Meanchey, Pailin, Oddar Meanchey and Preah Vihear. In 1997, it was successfully nominated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.[97] Other key habitats include the dry forest of Mondolkiri and Ratanakiri provinces and the Cardamom Mountains ecosystem, including Bokor National Park, Botum-Sakor National Park, and the Phnom Aural and Phnom Samkos wildlife sanctuaries.

The Worldwide Fund for Nature recognizes six distinct terrestrial ecoregions in Cambodia – the Cardamom Mountains rain forests, Central Indochina dry forest, Southeast Indochina dry evergreen forest, Southern Annamite Range rain forest, Tonle Sap freshwater swamp forest, and Tonle Sap-Mekong peat swamp forest.[98]

Flora (from Wikipedia article “Wildlife of Cambodia”)

Cambodia supports more than 8000 identified plant species, many of which are endemic to unique local ecosystems, such as the Tonlé Sap floodplain, forests of the Cardamom and Dâmrei mains, and higher elevations.[2]

Cambodia’s national flower is the Rumdul flower, officially Mitrella mesnyi.
The White Cheesewood, also known as Rumdul, is the official flower of Sisaket Province.
Aquilaria crassna, or chankreussna, is a tree species valued for its perfume which is currently critically endangered.

Environmental issues

The rate of deforestation in Cambodia is one of the highest in the world. Cambodia’s primary forest cover fell from over 70% in 1969 to just 3.1% in 2007. In total, Cambodia lost 25,000 square kilometres (9,700 sq mi) of forest between 1990 and 2005—3,340 km2 (1,290 sq mi) of which was primary forest. Since 2007, less than 3,220 km2 (1,243 sq mi) of primary forest remain with the result that the future sustainability of the forest reserves of Cambodia is under severe threat, with illegal loggers looking to generate revenue.[99]

The six distinct terrestrial ecoregions in Cambodia
(recognized by The Worldwide Fund for Nature)

Cardamom Mountains rain forests ecosystem, including
Bokor National Park
Botum-Sakor National Park
Phnom Aural
Phnom Samkos wildlife sanctuaries

1360894691_2!!-!!cardamom-mountains01

Part of the vast forest that covers the slopes of the Cardamom Mountains which forms one of the largest and most pristine areas of intact forest in SE Asia. Covering an area of 2.5 million acres it became one of the last strong holds of a retreating Khmer Rouge. Their presence helped preserve the forest as no-one dared to venture inside. But with the Khmer Rouge gone, it faces new dangers from poachers, loggers and illegal drug factories. In charge of protecting this vast forest are a handful of rangers who’s job it is to track down and arrest those who are helping to destroy this delicate habitat.

Part of the vast forest that covers the slopes of the Cardamom Mountains which forms one of the largest and most pristine areas of intact forest in SE Asia. Covering an area of 2.5 million acres it became one of the last strong holds of a retreating Khmer Rouge. Their presence helped preserve the forest as no-one dared to venture inside. But with the Khmer Rouge gone, it faces new dangers from poachers, loggers and illegal drug factories. In charge of protecting this vast forest are a handful of rangers who’s job it is to track down and arrest those who are helping to destroy this delicate habitat.

kardamom-wald-kambodscha

Misty-forest-credit-Jeremy-Holden-FFI

Central Indochina dry forest
consists of an area of plateau and low river basin, and includes a large area of the dry plains of the northern, eastern, and south-central parts of Cambodia.

Southeast Indochina dry evergreen forest

Southern Annamite Range rain forest
A small area in the northeast.

Tonlé Sap Biosphere Reserve

The Tonlé Sap Biosphere Reserve is a unique ecological phenomenon surrounding the Tonlé Sap or Great Lake of Cambodia. In 1997, it was successfully nominated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.[1]

The Biosphere has been divided into 3 core areas for protection. These are; Prek Toal in Battambang Province, Boeng Tonle Chhmar in Kampong Thom Province and Stoeng Sen also in Kompong Thom. Boeng Tonle Chhmar has been selected as a Ramsar Convention site, which designates wetlands of international importance. The core areas function similar to national park areas and cover 42,300 ha. including the Great Lake.[3]

Tonle Sap freshwater swamp forest

Tonle Sap-Mekong peat swamp forest

Kampong Thom

kampong-thom-sambor-prei-kuk

Siem Reap

18-Flooded-Forest-Kompong-Pluk-Cambodia.jpg

Battambang

Pursat

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Kampong Chhnang

Banteay Meanchey

Pailin

Oddar Meanchey

Preah Vihear

1263776285-Preah-Vihear-Cambodia-Asia-Preah-Vihear

OTHERS (as protected forests in Forest Cover and Forestland Categories)

Kampong Chhay

kbal_chhay_waterfall_sihanoukville-1

Mondolkiri province dry forest

12753072

dsc02396

Ratanakiri05

Ratanakiri provinces dry forest

Ang Trapeang Thmor

Ta_Prohm__Angkor_W_3049645b

Ta-Prom-at-Angkor-Wat-complex

Kg Speu

Pichet_Pen_-_Famtrip_to_Chambok_CBET_in_Kampong_Speu,_May_04,_2010_(5)

Koh Kong

mangrove-forest-koh-kong-3

Phnom Tamao Zoological Garden and Wildlife Rescue Center

PhonmTamaoWildlifeRescueCentre 16

Deforestation in Cambodia

Cambodia has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, third to only Nigeria and Vietnam, according to a 2005 report conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).[1]

Cambodia’s primary rainforest cover fell dramatically from over 70% in 1970 at the end of the Vietnam War to just 3.1% in 2007.[2] Deforestation is accelerating at an alarming rate, with overall rate of total forest loss at nearly 75% since the end of the 1990s. In total, Cambodia lost 25,000 square kilometres of forest between 1990 and 2005, 3,340 square kilometres of which was primary forest. As of 2007, less than 3,220 square kilometres of primary forest remain, with the result that the future sustainability of Cambodia’s forest reserves is under severe threat.[3]

According to a 2015 report, U.K. environmental rights group Global Witness places Cambodian timber magnate Try Pheap at the center of a large illegal logging enterprise driving Cambodia’s rarest tree species to the brink of extinction. The report concludes that the operation of the illegal logging is being done with the collusion of government and military officials with virtually all of the illegally cut and transported wood going to China[4]

Rare wood types threatened with extinction

The organization ‘Global Witness’ says a vast illegal logging operation is driving the country’s rarest tree species to the brink of extinction with government and military officials acting with impunity to keep the operation functioning. The Global Witness report said ‘government and industry insiders, including people who work for Okhna Try Pheap, indicated that entrenched corruption had ensured loggers in his network were given safe passage and immunity from timber confiscations and penalties.'[5]

OTHER SOURCES ABOUT THIS ISSUE:

Loss of Forest in Cambodia Among Worst in the World

Cambodia By Rhett Butler

Cambodia forest communities confront illegal loggers as authorities look away

Cambodia offers a stark illustration of how natural resources can be a curse, not a blessing, to a country’s population.

THE MANY WAYS OF PROTECTING

ECOLOGICAL ACTIONS:

Saving Cambodia’s Dry Forests

“types of trees we plant in Cambodia”

GUARDIANS, PROTECTORS AND OTHER HEROS

Death of a comrade

Bun Saluth, guardian of the Cambodian forest

DIFUSSION AND INFORMATION

Cambodia Tree Species, Monographs

CULTURE AND ART

Cambodian Trees: Digitally Projected Deities and Sprits on the Streets of Cambodia

Apsara Dance Royal ballet of Cambodia in the woodlands

(Special thanks to Apsara Royal Dancer, Tola Chap, for her contribution and her inspiration through her dancing. You can visit her Youtube canal HERE and subscribe for her videos)

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