Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry approves protected area status for Yeak Laom Lake in Ratanakkiri

Ministry approves protected area status for Yeak Laom Lake in Ratanakkiri

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Yeak Laom Lake in Ratanakkiri province. The Ministry of Environment has approved the registration of the Yeak Laom Lake community natural protected area. VOUN DARA

Ministry approves protected area status for Yeak Laom Lake in Ratanakkiri

The Ministry of Environment on Friday approved the registration of the Yeak Laom Lake community natural protected area in Ratanakkiri province to support the preservation of natural resources, culture and eco-tourism.

The indigenous community hailed the decision, but said it had come too late to save a chunk of the forest that has already been lost and requested that relevant institutions recognise the magnitude of the issue.

Khieu Borin, the head of the ministry’s General Department of Local Communities, announced Yeak Loam Lake’s recognition in Banlung town.

He thanked local communities for participating with the Ministry of Environment to protect the natural area, which he said had played a crucial role in reducing reliance on produce from the forest, preventing illegal wildlife hunting and promoting a culture of eco-tourism.

The ministry has officially changed the area’s name from “Yeak Loam forest community” to “Yeak Laom Lake community natural protected area”.

The community was established in 1998 with the support of the Seila programme and with the participation of residents from five local villages – Chry, Labo, Sil, Lorn and Phnom – comprising some 637 families and 387ha of land.

Indigenous community representative Kroeung Tola applauded the decision to grant Yeak Laom Lake its new protected area status, but said many natural resources had already been lost.

“I am still happy at the recognition of the community, even though it’s overdue. I urge all relevant ministries make the protection of natural resources their main priority. If we allow areas rich in natural resources to become economic land concessions, neither the state nor the people will benefit."

“Each hectare of state concession land fetches $1 a year, but private companies benefit a great deal. Companies benefit doubly from non-timber forest products in the area and from profits on the sale of rubber tapped from trees – while the people gain nothing from economic land concessions,” he said.

Addressing the clearing of provincial forest land and natural resources, Tola observed that encroachments have not stopped, despite repeated calls to bring an end to the practice.

“We keep shouting about it, but the destruction of natural resources continue. If it keeps up like this, sooner or later there will be no more forest,” he said.

Deputy provincial governor Nhem Sam Oeun told The Post on Sunday that the Yeak Laom Lake community natural protected area is extremely important to the provincial administration. He said it must be taken care of so that no further natural resources are lost and added that the authority must oversee the re-planting of trees.

“The community is significant for its natural resources and for eco-tourism. If our Yeak Laom Lake continues to be logged and construction keeps taking place, then it will lose its originality. We want to preserve its original state,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen warmly welcomed by president Biden

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, as ASEAN chair, and other ASEAN leaders were warmly welcomed by US president Joe Biden as the ASEAN-US summit May 12-13 kicked off today in Washington. “This evening, I welcomed ASEAN leaders to the White House for the first time in

  • Third Makro outlet planned for capital’s Chroy Changvar

    Makro (Cambodia) Co Ltd is set to invest $12.7 million in its third Cambodian outlet, this time in northeast Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district, an area dotted with high-end residential developments, as shopping behaviours continue to evolve in tandem with economic growth. The Cambodian Investment