The Environment Ministry on Friday announced the recognition of an area in Ratanakkiri province’s Banlung city as the Boeng Yeak Laom protected area.
Phon Khemarin, director of the provincial environment department, yesterday said the initiative was first announced after residents in the Yeak Laom community submitted a conservation status request last year.
Mr Khemarin said that after the recognition, the community now have access to technical support, clear community management plans and waste management. He added that the community will also be able to cooperate with officials in protecting nature in the area.
“When there is community participation, the management of the Boeng Yeak Laom Protected Area will also be better,” he said. “It can help contribute in curbing deforestation and in attracting tourists to the region.”
Khieu Borin, director-general of the ministry’s local community general department, said on Friday that by establishing the protected area, livelihoods will be improved and the dependence on timber products and wildlife will be reduced.
“The arrangement of the protected community, especially when it comes to eco-tourism communities, is an important mechanism in preserving and protecting natural resources,” Mr Borin said. “It also promotes the livelihood of the community so it can participate in the management and use of natural resources effectively.”
In June last year, Prime Minister Hun Sen issued a sub-decree for the establishment of the multi-purpose Yeak Laom Lake Area, which covered 225 hectares to preserve, protect and conserve.
The protected area also covers Yeak Laom Lake, a 4,000-year-old volcanic crater turned into a lake, and its surrounding forests. The lake is a popular tourist destination.
The sub-decree is composed of six articles aimed at conserving wildlife, forestry, ecological systems and biodiversity in the area.
Environment Minister Minister Say Sam Al at the time said the area was in dire need of protection.
“The establishment is to allow the ministry to register the land in the area to become state land to avoid any problems,” Mr Sam Al said. “Before the area was not clear, so we wanted to prepare the area for proper management.”
Ven Churk, a representative of the Boeng Yeak Laom community, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
According to the Environment Ministry, Boeng Yeak Laom was previously known as the Yeak Laom forest community.
It was established in 1998 with the participation of 637 families in five villages.