The Apsara National Authority (ANA) distributed more than 10,000 saplings from June 1-24 as it strives to hit its goal of planting more than 100,000 trees to create forest cover in and around the Angkor Archaeological Park.
ANA deputy director-general and spokesman Long Kosal told The Post on June 28 that the body – tasked with managing the park – had been distributing the young trees for several months, although he did not have exact figures to hand.
“The trees will be planted in pagodas, schools, hospitals and on private land. The important thing is that we want to increase forest cover. It doesn’t matter if it is on our land or the land of private citizens, everyone will benefit,” he said.
He said ANA officials would visit the sites and monitor the development of the trees to ensure that they were being cared for adequately.
He added that the trees would not only create forest cover in the Angkor area, but would also benefit the local people, who could earn extra income from non-timber forest products.
“According to the season, people will be able to collect fruit, such as lychees. They will be able to sell them to international tourists and visitors to the province. Another of our ideas is to take palm leaves and use them to pack palm sugar,” he said.
Kosal said this strategy meant that people would derive a source of income from the forest, and this would motivate them to protect the forest.
He called for contributions to forest protection, saying that the trees also protected the ancient temples of the area from damage caused by wind and rain.
“Please respect the forest and do not harm it. The forest helps to retain water and preserves the temples, too,” he added.
The ANA recently gifted 1,000 saplings to Chorm Sarin, chief monk of Sovannaram pagoda, better known as Ta Mot Meanchey. They will be planted on pagoda grounds and also at Ta Mot Meanchey primary school in Pha’av commune of Oddar Meanchey province’s Trapaing Prasat district.
The sampling includes 200 kranhoung (Dalbergia cochinchinensis), 300 thnong (Pterocarpus macrocarpus), 200 beng (Afzelia xylocarpa), 200 koki (Hopea odorata) and 100 kngok (Delonix regia).
At the same time, more than 500 mixed saplings were given to both Chhin Tai Chheang, principal of Samdech Ov High School in Sra Nge commune, and Hoeung Huot, principal of Sieng Nam Primary School in Teuk Vil commune of Siem Reap town and province.