2011, the year of the economic land concession

I understand that many people will find this year’s flood of economic land concessions across the Kingdom to be a bit of a shock to the system, but please remember this is exactly what the government proposed when they issued their “National Forest Program” documents in late 2009. I know from conversations with others in the conservation sector here that I seem to be the only person that actually read these enormous docs from cover to cover and they clearly outline plans to keep the overall forest cover at 60% (LOL) by counting various areas as concessions and community areas. In fact with some simple calculations from the details in the docs it is clear the actual area that will be protected (on paper) will be around 27%, the other 33% will be as above, continuing the long-term theme of counting rubber plantations etc as forest cover. They also seem to suggest that the community forest areas will also eventually generate money for the government and I can only assume that communities will be encouraged to use these lands to generate money, rather than as they were intended, to give communities a sustainable footing. It appears that this years concessions are hitting pretty much every protected area in the country so it would be nice to see the various conservation NGO’s and donors pulling together on this and fighting it on a national level rather than simply fighting individually for their own areas of interest.

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About Allan Michaud

English Wildlife Photographer/Environmental Filmmaker based in Cambodia
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