The Death of Cambodia’s Forests
Cambodia's once mighty rainforests are in a post-timber boom death swoon. This is a glimpse of the inevitable future for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Brazil and Papua New Guinea (already quite far along) should industrial logging become further entrenched. When industrial scale timber harvest becomes the norm, inevitably local ecosystems and livelihoods are decimated – despite, and perhaps because of, empty rhetoric regarding monitoring, certification and sustainability. Most of Cambodia's large, easily accessible rainforests have been essentially destroyed. And now the industry uses illusory promises of plantation development to wrest the remainder from the Cambodian people. Logging has become an integral part of the political patronage system. And despite the new concession system and continued failed efforts to improve monitoring of logging systems, Cambodia's forest system remains anarchic and gravely unsustainable. A similar concession system is being foisted upon the DRC by the World Bank and FAO, where it will similarly degrade one of the country's most important natural resources while abusing the rights of the forest-dependent communities. Institutions supporting and subsidizing the establishment of logging industry's which carry out first time ancient rainforest harvest against local wishes are guilty of crimes against humanity. There is no evidence – I repeat no evidence – that commercial scale rainforest logging (certified or otherwise) can be carried out in an equitable, just and sustainable manner. Forests.org figures prominently in this excellent report on Cambodia's forests.