Deforestation in Cambodia increased dramatically this millennium due to multinational corporations exploiting the country’s natural wealth. Obviously, this removal of trees has bothered people and damages entire ecosystems. As a reaction to the destruction in their area the Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN) launched to police the it local forests. They document and report on illegal logging operations and expose the activity to authorities and other non-governmental organizations.
The work they have done is great, and now with COVID-19 it’s more important than ever before. Cambodia has cut back on their enforcement of environmental laws (like the USA) which has led to an increase in illegal logging that the PLCN is trying to hold back.
The PLCN continues their fight despite the increased workload and risk from COVID-19.
Established in 2000, the PLCN has a core of about a dozen full-time activists across the four provinces spanned by the 432,000-hectare forest, and about 600 “volunteer” members.
Patrollers – many from indigenous groups that live in and around the forest – use GPS technology and a purpose-built smartphone app to log tree stumps, new roads and logging camps.
Their data is paired with publicly available satellite imagery – that has shown deforestation, timber stockpiles and sawmills – and is published periodically with researchers from the University of Copenhagen.