Illegal logging and ‘timber laundering’ in Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary, Cambodia

Corruption and illegal practises under the Economic Land Concessions scheme of the Cambodian government


<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns"><div class="less">The Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Ratankiri province, Cambodia, covers 250,000ha (1) of originally old-growth forests, home to rich biodiversity, providing crucial livelihood resources to surrounding villages, inhabited by Lao ethnic minorities, among others. </div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">On March 14, 2011, a concession amounting to 8,825ha was awarded to Daunh Penh Agrico Co. under Cambodia’s Economic Land Concession (ELC) scheme. The ELC fully overlaps with the sanctuary (2). On November 8, 2011, two more ELCs for rubber plantations, also located within the sanctuary, were granted to Hoang Anh Andong Meas Co. (9,775ha) and Hoang Anh Lumphat Co. (9,470ha) (3); two companies which are believed to be subsidiaries of Vietnamese rubber giant Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) (4). Hence, total concession land associated to HAGL within the Sanctuary exceeds the legal ELC limit of 10,000ha per company (2). <br/><br/>Since 2012, all three companies have been accused by villagers and local rights groups of illegal logging outside their concessions areas (5;6). On a single patrol in April, 2013, more than 3000 freshly felled trees were found and trucks were spotted that brought the wood into the nearby ELC areas. Around 20-30 truckloads have been reported to leave the forest each day, until villagers and local rights groups started to report on the case. Illegal logging was estimated to have led to the cutting of 16,000 trees of luxury grade-timber from the sanctuary, having a market value of 400$ to 1,000$/m3. This results in a total estimated value of illegal timber up to 100 million dollars (6). ‘Laundering’ of illegal timber through ELCs located within forest areas is expanding in Cambodia: companies log outside their concession area, bring the wood into their area and ‘legalize’ it by claiming that it comes from clearing the forest for their plantations (4;7). Logged wood is said to be processed in close collaboration with Try Pheap business tycoon, alleged to control a massive network of illegal logging activities, ranging from individual traders, over military officers and police to high ranking government officials (4;7). Also in Lumphat wildlife sanctionary, local environmental officers are alleged to be involved in the illegal business (5).<br/><br/>Impacts have been far ranging, including vast forest degradation, deforestation and the destruction of biologically rich natural habitats, as well as a loss of livelihood due encroachment of community land and logging of resin trees, commonly tapped by locals (8). Resin trees are key for local communities, for which reason their logging is protected under national law. While families can live on for years by tapping resin trees, the companies felled them, offering 2$/tree of compensation to the families (8), further claiming to be beneficial to communities by bringing infrastructure such as roads and electricity (9).<br/><br/>In 2012, villagers started to document the issue. With support from the local NGO ADHOC, a report was submitted to national authorities, requesting further investigation (8). Also citizens patrols started to prevent deforestation and on November 13, 2013, 124 families filed a complaint for illegal logging against Agri Co Ltd. And Hoang Ang Lumphat (5). In May 2014, around 2,000ha of the sanctuary have been classified as community protected area (9), supported by NGO Birdlife International Cambodia, who has further funded community patrols (10). While this supports the community’s protection activities, it is also ironic, as it should be already protected by Cambodian law and environmental officers (10). However, corruption seems to be a central problem (4;7). According to villagers, recent attempts by authorities to inspect the company’s undertaking were blocked by local environmental officers who, in January 2014, torched an entire bridge that provided access to the ELC area (11). <br/><br/>As of February 2015, villager protests against the companies, illegal logging and timber laundering go on (9).<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Illegal logging and ‘timber laundering’ in Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary, Cambodia</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/cambodia">Cambodia</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Ratanakiri province</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Lumphat district</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>HIGH local level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture and Livestock Management)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Deforestation<br /> Land acquisition conflicts<br /> Logging and non timber extraction</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/land'>Land</a><br /><a href='/commodity/timber'>Timber</a></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Details</td><td class="columns"><div class="less">Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary is protected under the 1993 Royal Decree on Protected Areas, and covers 250,000ha (1).</div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">On March 14, 2011, an Economic Land Concession (ELC) amounting to 8,825ha, located within the Sanctuary, was awarded to Daunh Penh Agrico Co under Cambodia’s Economic Land Concession (ELC) scheme (2). <br/><br/>On November 8, 2011, two ELCs for rubber plantations located within the Sanctuary, were granted to Hoang Anh Andong Meas Co. (9,775ha) and Hoang Anh Lumphat Co. (9,470ha) (3); which are believed to be subsidiaries of Vietnamese rubber giant Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) (4). Hence, total concession land associated to HAGL in the Sanctuary exceeds the legal limit of 10,000ha per company (2).<br/><br/>Illegal logging was reported to have occurred on a 1,500 ha area (6)<br/><br/>An estimated 16,000 luxury timber trees were logged, having a market value of 400$ in provinces and 1,000$ in Phnom Penh. Each tree found contained between 5 and 7 cubic meters. The value of illegally logged timber was estimated to reach up to 100,000,000$ (6)<br/><br/>124 families filed the complaint (5). Based on average household size, this corresponds to roughly 600 persons.<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Rural</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>600 directly affected through loss of forest livelihood resources</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>14/03/2011</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/hoang-anh-gia-lai-hagl'>Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) <small>(HAGL)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/vietnam'><small>Vietnam</small></a> - <small>rubber, forestry, agro-industry, property development</small><br /><a href='/company/hoang-anh-andong-meas-co'> Hoang Anh Andong Meas Co.</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/cambodia'><small>Cambodia</small></a> - <small>rubber, forestry, logging</small><br /><a href='/company/hoang-anh-lumphat-co'>Hoang Anh Lumphat Co.</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/cambodia'><small>Cambodia</small></a> - <small>rubber, forestry, logging</small><br /><a href='/company/daunh-penh-agrico-co'>Daunh Penh Agrico Co.</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/cambodia'><small>Cambodia</small></a> - <small>forestry, logging, agro-business</small></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>ADHOC Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association<br/><br/>Birdlife International Cambodia</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>In REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Farmers<br /> Indigenous groups or traditional communities<br /> Local ejos</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)<br /> Creation of alternative reports/knowledge<br /> Involvement of national and international NGOs<br /> Official complaint letters and petitions<br /> Street protest/marches</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Air pollution, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>In operation</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Corruption<br /> New legislation<br /> Strengthening of participation</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>Villagers and local NGOs request an investigation of illegal logging.</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>No</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>Illegal logging goes on.</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Legislations</td><td><table><tr><td><p> (2) 2005 Cambodian Subdecree on Economic Land Concessions (ELC)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.cambodiainvestment.gov.kh/sub-decree-146-on-economic-land-concessions_051227.html" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Law on protected areas in Cambodia<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.cambodiainvestment.gov.kh/law-on-nature-protection-area-protected-areas-law_080104_080104.html" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">References</td><td><table><tr><td><p> (4) Global Witness 2013: Rubber Barons - how Vietnamese Companies and International Financiers are driving a land grabbing Crisis in Cambodia and Laos.<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/GlobalWitness_2013_Rubber_Barons_lores_0.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (7) Global Witness 2015. The Cost of Luxury: Cambodia's illegal trade in precious wood with China.<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.globalwitness.org/costofluxury/docs/The_Cost_of_Luxury.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> (1) Open Development Cambodia: Protected Areas (accessed 19/02/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.opendevelopmentcambodia.net/natural_resource/protected-areas/" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (3) LICADHO: The Great Cambodian Giveaway - interactive ELC Map (accessed 19/02/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.licadho-cambodia.org/concession_timelapse/" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (5) Phnom Penh Post article (17.11.2013): "Wildlife Sanctuary Illegally logged" (accessed 19/02/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/wildlife-sanctuary-%E2%80%98illegally-logged%E2%80%99" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (6) Phnom Penh Post article (25.04.2013) "Forest razed to tune $100 million" (accessed 19/02/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/forest-razed-tune-100-million" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (8) Phnom Penh Post article (11.04.13) "Sanctuary ravaged for timber: rights groups" (accessed 19/02/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/sanctuary-ravaged-timber-rights-group" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (9) Phnom Penh Post article (02.02.2015) "Timber found in sanctuary" (accessed 19/02/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/timber-found-sanctuary" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (10) Phnom Penh Post article (26.04.2015) "Sanctuary 'protected'"(accessed 19/02/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/sanctuary-%E2%80%98protected%E2%80%99" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (11) Phnom Penh Post article (31.01.2014) "Sanctuary bridge 'torched'" (accessed 19/02/2015)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/sanctuary-bridge-%E2%80%98torched%E2%80%99" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Documents</td><td><table><tr><td><p><strong>Illegaly logged luxury timber</strong> Source: http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/wildlife-sanctuary-%E2%80%98illegally-logged%E2%80%99<br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/PPP_2-Timber-logging_-Lumphat-wildlife-sanctuary_Rattanakiri.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>A. Scheidel (ICTA-UAB) / arnim.scheidel "at"gmail.com</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>24/02/2015</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>
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