The Siem Reap provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries called on citizens to stop stealing forest land belonging to the state. It said village, commune and district authorities should cooperate to protect forest land in the province.
Department director Tea Kimsoth told The Post on Monday that forest land managed by the Forestry Administration and residents in Siem Reap spanned over 30,000ha. The forests have an abundance of high-grade Cambodian timber.
He said the Forestry Administration constantly educates the people but some culprits still take the opportunity during quiet times to log and steal forest land that belongs to state.
“When Forestry Administration officials went to the forest to put up signs banning logging, we discovered land theft and the creation of ownership certificates for state land.
“If we are a little careless, some people will steal the forest land. This invasion is mostly from local people, but there are also some who came to work in Siem Reap many years ago and stole forest land,” said Kimsoth.
He called for citizens to stop logging on forest land and settling on state land as it is illegal. “The Forestry Administration cannot be the only ones to protect and conserve the forest.
“Citizens and local authorities must participate as we cannot patrol every inch of the protected land,” he said.
The Kantuot-Khna Krao Forestry Administration director in Kantuot commune, Svay Leu District, Siem Reap, Seng Lon, led forces to patrol the forest on June 5 and put up signs warning against the theft of forest land.
He called on citizens to stop forging documents to transfer state land for private ownership and urged the related authorities to cooperate to tackle such illegal activities.
“Lands managed by the Forestry Administration in Kantuot-Khna Krao spanning about 20,000ha are in danger because some culprits conspired to transfer ownership to sell and buy forest land.
“The provincial administration had already reported to the Siem Reap authorities to take measures to stop such ownership transfers, and the buying and selling of forest land in the area managed by the Forestry Administration,” Lon said.