The Environment Ministry has planted 40,000 tree saplings in the protected areas of Preah Jayavarman-Norodom National Park in Siem Reap province and Beong Per Wildlife Sanctuary in Preah Vihear province.
The tree planting event was held on Friday and Saturday, and involved provincial authorities, monks, and local residents.
Sao Sopheap, an Environment Ministry secretary of state, on Saturday said that 25,000 tree saplings were planted in Preah Jayavarman-Norodom National Park and 15,000 tree saplings were planted in Boeng Per Wildlife Sanctuary.
“Planting trees together shows a joint commitment in the protection and conservation of natural resources for the benefit of local communities and society in general,” he said.
Mr Sopheap also encouraged the communities living in the protected areas to safeguard the forest and prevent illegal activities from taking place, such as land encroachment and wildlife hunting.
“People in the communities can also take and use timber for their daily need, as well as provide tourism services to support their families and community development,” he said.
Mr Sopheap said protected area communities have a significant role in the management, protection and conservation of local natural resources and biodiversity.
He noted that the ministry will continue to support the communities to improve their livelihoods as well as build their capacity to better manage the forests.
Neth Pheaktra, Environment Ministry spokesman, yesterday said the tree saplings planted included species of luxury wood such as rosewood and Chhoeuteal.
“Planting trees in protected areas is part of restoration efforts, with the support and cooperation from the Climate Change Adaptation Fund, aimed at maintaining forest cover, increasing biodiversity and preventing illegal forest land encroachment activities,” he said.
Sou Serey, Preah Vihear provincial deputy governor, said that 15,000 tree saplings were planted across 16 hectares of land in Boeng Per Wildlife Sanctuary that were confiscated from perpetrators of illegal land encroachment.
“Reforestation of protected areas is very important to increase forest cover, reduce the effects of climate change, and improve the livelihoods of the communities there,” he said.
Earlier this month, the Environment Ministry along with the Khmer Artists Association and youths, planted 6,000 trees at the Samakki Natural Protected Community in Kampong Speu province’s Aoral district.
According to an Environment Ministry report, Cambodia currently has 56 protected areas across the country spanning about 7.5 million hectares.