Military Continues to Cut Down Forest—And Carbon Credits

23 January 2014

Cambodian soldiers are continuing to cut into community forests in Oddar Meanchey province that are meant to anchor what is intended to be the country’s first forest-based carbon credit trading scheme, local villagers and NGOs said Wednesday.

Yan Sna said he and about 50 fellow Banteay Ampil district villagers found four or five armed soldiers using a bulldozer to clear a part of their official community forest on Monday.

Mr. Sna said the troops had already cleared about 200 hectares of the forest, whose produce the local community relies on to feed themselves and earn a living.

“I asked them why they were doing this and they said their superiors gave them permission to clear the forest,” Mr. Sna said.

“I depend very much on collecting mushrooms and firewood here; it will affect many people.”

The Andong Bor community forest is also one of 13 in the province the government and NGOs are trying to turn into Cambodia’s first Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) project, with the potential to earn millions of dollars for both the government and local communities.

By guaranteeing that the forests remain standing, they hope to use it to sell carbon credits to environmentally conscious firms abroad who wish to offset their own carbon emissions.

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