Forest Conflict in Cambodia (Case: Forest conflict between local communities and forest industries )

In Cambodia, the majority of the population lives in rural areas by earning their livelihood base on forest resources for timber and non-timber forest products. Because nation’s forests provide great benefit to many people, the forest conflicts are avoidable in the society. The conflict between forest industries and local communities in Tum Ring commune, Kampong Thom province was taken as the example because it was the remarkable forest conflict in Cambodia.

After the Royal Government of Cambodia allowed the domestic and international companies to manage and harvest the forest under forest concession permits, local communities in Tum Ring commune were suffered from the forest harvesting operation due to restricted access of forest resources. As a result, there were some conflicts between the local communities and forest concessionaires. Global witness, international ENGO in United Kingdom, started its campaign against forest industries and government to draw the attention from national and international organizations. The forest conflicts seem not to end yet even the government decided to suspend and cancel some the forest concession permits to response to the issues. After forest concession activities were stopped, Economic Land Concession Projects were introduced by the government and conflicts between local people and rubber plantation companies occurred again. Under the intervention from international institutions and the government, the conflict has been solved by offering compensation and other alternative solutions to the local communities. Forest conflict in Cambodia can be seen as the lesson learned of government regarding to forest concession and economic land concession scheme. To avoid forest conflicts, environmental and social economic impact assessments at local level need to be done before the implementation of any development projects like economic land concession (e.g rubber plantation).

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