Illegal rosewood logging in the Cardamom Mountains and killing of forest activist Chut Wutty, Cambodia

Cambodian environmental activist Chut Wutty was shot on April 26, 2012 in the Central Cardamom Protected Forest (CCPF), investigating illegal logging in the conservation area. The CCPF, covering 402,000ha, is among the largest conservation areas in Cambodia, extending itself over various districts. With its great biodiversity, including many endemic and endangered species such as Asian elephants and Siamese Crocodiles, it can be counted among the richest forests in Southeast Asia. Available resin trees are further important income sources of the local population. The Cardamom Forests are also well known for its old growth timber, including precious rosewood with a market value of $5000-$8000 per cubic meter. This has made the area a central target for illegal logging, provoking a rosewood rush, driven largely by highly organized criminal networks, operating on a large scale (1).
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Basic Data
NameIllegal rosewood logging in the Cardamom Mountains and killing of forest activist Chut Wutty, Cambodia
ProvinceKoh Kong
SiteRussey Chrum village, Thma Bang District
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Logging and non timber extraction
Specific CommoditiesTimber
yellow vine
Project Details and Actors
Project Details
This conflict is not related to a single project, but rather to diverse illegal activities. Below, some quantitative information, where available, is provided for related issues.
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Project Area (in hectares)402,000 (protected area)
Level of Investment (in USD)unknown
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Populationunknown
Start Date01/01/2001
Company Names or State EnterprisesTimbergreen from Cambodia - illegal logging, logging, timber, rosewood, yellow vine
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersNRPG Natural Resource Protection Group

ARA Arbeitsgemeinschaft Regenwald und Artenschutz

CCHR Cambodian Center for Human Rights

LICADHO Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights

ADHOC Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Soil erosion
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Forest activist Chut Wutty was killed on April 26, 2012
Development of AlternativesThis has been a fight against illegal activities. A major alternative development against illegal logging was the establishment of the protected area CCPF (Central Cardamom Protected Forest) in 2001, in which Chut Wutty was involved. This was however before the conflict escalated.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.There has been heavy illegal logging, and attempts to investigate this led to the killing of activist Chut Wutty. His killing has never been properly investigated.
Sources and Materials

Chut Wutty on Wikipedia
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Article from the journalist who accompanied Chut Wutty the day he was killed
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(1) Phnom Penh Post article: logging-wild-west
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(2) Phnom Penh Post article: Chut Wutty slaying puts timbergreen logging in spotlight
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(3) Phnom Penh Post Article: Court drops Wutty case
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(4) Phnom Penh Post Article: Timbergreen official questioned in Chut Wutty shooting
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Media Links

Australia news report on the death of Chut Wutty
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Short video on the life and death of Chut Wutty
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Other Documents

Chut Wutty burning illegally logged timber Foto credits: Phnom Penh Post:
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Meta Information
ContributorA. Scheidel (ICTA) / arnim.scheidel "at"
Last update24/02/2015