The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries yesterday announced the establishment of two community forest areas over 4,500 hectares in Kampong Thom province’s Santuk district.
According to declarations issued by the ministry, one 4,218 hectare plot of land will be used to create the Veal Ou Kdey community forest in Santuk district’s Kraya commune. Another 294 hectares of land will be used to create the Phnom Raing community forest in Boeung Lvea commune.
“We are creating Veal Ou Kdey and Phnom Raing community forests for sustainable forestry community-based management,” the directive said.
The ministry added the establishment of these community forests aims to boost preservation, biodiversity conservation, sustainable development, and the use of traditional timber products.
The ministry said the community forests could also be turned into eco-tourism destinations in the future, brining economic gains to surrounding villages.
Spokesman Keo Omalis said the creation of the community forests will provide many benefits to the people living in the area.
“When establishing community forests, we always have an agreement between the forest communities and the provincial Forestry Administration,” he said. “Moreover, we encourage people to use timber products sustainably, and the Forestry Administration and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will support or resolve conflicts in the community.”
The establishment of the community forests can help conserve biodiversity by preventing forest crimes and other offences, he added.
According to Mr Omalis, there are now more than 500 community forests across the country.