Over the past seven months, the Apsara Authority has planted and distributed more than 60,000 tree saplings in Siem Reap province’s Angkor area in its bid to increase forest cover and conserve ancient temples.
In a report issued on Tuesday, the authority said that from January 1 to July 25 it had planted 19,541 saplings comprised of 24 species in cooperation with citizens, students, institutions and private companies.
The report said the authority also distributed 46,034 tree saplings for communities and institutions to plant at pagodas, schools, houses and in villages.
Long Kosal, spokesman for Apsara Authority, yesterday said that planting tree saplings is very important to help increase the forest cover and make the Angkor area more green, noting that trees attract more rainfall which can also help to strengthen the foundations of the ancient temples.
“The temple foundations rest on sandy soil, so when this is mixed with water it will become very strong and can support millions of tonnes of the temple’s load,” he said. “Therefore, we are planting trees to attract the rainfall.”
Mr Kosal added that tree saplings also help reduce soil erosion at the temples, as the Angkor area is not far from the Tonle Sap lake from where strong winds blow.
“The trees also slow down the intensity of the wind which causes erosion,” he said. “Our country is hot and humid and the heat expands temple stones which easily erode when exposed to strong winds.”
Mr Kosal urged citizens to join the Apsara Authority’s efforts to preserve the temples in the Angkor area by planting trees, preserving the forests and maintaining a clean environment.
Venerable Tat Mahaty, chief of Preah Enkosa pagoda who has joined the authority’s reforestation activities, yesterday said that it is everyone’s duty to plant trees and preserve the forest which provides people with a livelihood and also cover from the sun.
“Campaigns to plant trees also help to increase awareness on the need to preserve and protect our natural resources and biodiversity,” he said. “Planting a tree is like creating a life.”
Banteay Meanchey provincial authorities and two civil society organisations yesterday also organized an event to plant and provide 15,200 tree saplings to people in four communes in Mongkol Borey district to increase forest cover and help reduce the effects climate change.
Provincial Governor Um Reatrey yesterday said the saplings were planted and distributed to the local authorities and citizens in Chamnorm, Rohat Toek, Kork Ballaing, and Srah Raing communes and these included 50 rosewood, 100 Beng, 15 mango and 15,035 pepper trees.