Satellite data released by Global Forest Watch (GFW) suggest that Cambodia has experienced the highest rate of tree-cover loss in the world over the past 14 years, beyond that of normal heavy hitters Brazil and Indonesia, with the Kingdom quadrupling its tree cover loss in 2014 as compared to 2001.
~The Phnom Penh Post
There is a strong correlation between the loss of forest and the price of rubber; higher prices naturally mean more land is sought to grow rubber.
And more rubber being grown means more jobs.
Ministry of Agriculture Undersecretary of State Eang Sophalleth agreed that rising rubber prices had an influence over Cambodia’s development plans.
“We are promoting rubber [to create jobs],” he said. “Nobody wants to deforest or cause environmental damage, but there is always a balance.”
But many of the forests that have been razed were on supposedly protected land put aside to support rare wildlife and support the overall ecosystem.
“Protected areas have already been lost to rubber plantations,” a statement accompanying the report reads. “For example, more than 70 per cent of the 75,000 hectare Snoul Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia was cleared for rubber between 2009 and 2013.”
And you can bet that those areas haven’t been sold of by the Cambodian government to poor Cambodian farmers.
No, most certainly it will be business ‘elite’ who will have done under-the table deals with Cambodia’s kleptocracy for ‘rights’ to grow rubber trees.