Illegal logging in Snuol Wildlife Sanctuary, Cambodia

<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">Over decades, the Snuol Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Kratie province, Cambodia, has been an area of conflictive legal and illegal logging activities. The Wildlife Sanctuary has a strategic position for loggers and traders, as it is located on the border, allowing to easily trading legal and illegal timber and luxury forest products such as Rosewood to neighbouring Vietnam. It has also been the source of Resin producing trees – a central income source – and many other crucial forest products for neighbouring Khmer villagers, and for indigenous groups such as the Stieng, living within the Sanctuary. </div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">During the 1990s, the area was under a logging concession granted to Samling Corporation, a Malaysian based forestry company, with major logging activities across Cambodia; well known for their bad environmental practices (3). Large amounts of Resin producing trees were cut, heavily affecting the income of the local rural population. Deforestation increased in Snuol Wildlife Sanctuary, as well as at national scale, and under international pressure, the Royal Government of Cambodia placed a Moratorium on logging at the turn of the millennium (4), forcing Samling to stop logging activities. <br/><br/>This moratorium, however, did not help much the protection of forests and forest-dependent people, as it opened the door to illegal loggers and traders (1). Illegal logging of high value wood material such as Rosewood, which already occurred in the 1990s, exacerbated in the early 2000s. Truck loads, illegally transported to Vietnam during night, were estimated to be worth several thousand dollars (5), while the illegal business as a whole was estimated to be a million-dollar business (10). The high value trade fostered corruption and the increasing involvement of public actions such as local police officers and park guards. A series of crackdowns on illegal logging followed (6; 7), however the government has not been able to combat illegal logging activities, continuing until present. Attempts to 'regulate' land use in Snuol Wildlife Sanctuary by granting new Economic Land Concessions (ELC) for rubber and cassava plantations within the protected Sanctuary were ironic and failed (10). Nowadays, the whole Sanctuary area (75,000ha) is fully covered by ELCs (126,000ha), producing further evictions of local villagers, increased logging activities, and turning the ‘protected’ environment completely into forestry and agro-businesses (11;12). <br/><br/>Already in 2001, in absence of effective state interventions, the villagers, with support from the NGO Women for a Peaceful Environment (Satrey Santepheap Daoembei Parethan (SSP)) established a community forest committee, which became part of the nationwide Forest Network (1;8). Their resistance activities include patrolling, seizing of tools from illegal workers (e.g., chainsaws), burning of illegally cut timber, and an application to convert part of the Sanctuary in a formally recognized Community Forest, which is now officially recognized by Ministry of Environment. These activities helped to decrease the destruction of environmental resources and related livelihoods. Nevertheless, the Sanctuary forest was reduced from 75,0000ha in 2001, to around 7,000ha in 2013 (2). Villagers of the community forest network received numerous death threats (1) and a journalist, investigating the case was shot in 2014 by corrupt policemen and illegal timber traders (9). The recently established ELC have further drastically increased the pressure and conflicts over resource and land uses.<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 in Snuol 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>Kratie</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Snuol 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>Logging and non timber extraction</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/rubber'>Rubber</a><br /><a href='/commodity/land'>Land</a><br /><a href='/commodity/biological-resources'>Biological resources</a><br /><a href='/commodity/timber'>Timber</a><br />rosewood</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">This conflict is comprised of various legal and illegal activities, ongoing over years with changing actors, rather than caused by a single project. </div><a class="seemore" href="#">See more...</a><div class="more" style="display:none">According to newspaper reports, illegal trade of luxury woods amounts to at least several hundred thousands dollars (5;10). <br/><br/>All these activities are centred within and around the Snuol Wildlife Sanctuary, covering an area 75,000ha. During the 1990s, this natural heritage, although protected under the 1993 Royal decree, was subject to a forest concession granted to Samling Corporation. In the early 2000s, the area was under a logging moratorium, which provoked heavy logging by illegal traders. <br/><br/>In the recent years, Economic Land Concessions (ELC) were granted, based on the 2005 subdecree on ELCs to various companies. The ELCs granted in this area between 2008-2012 were reported to amount to 126,000 ha. It is not clear whether these concessions overlap or not. Some of these companies (Binh Phouc Kratie Company Rubber 1 and 2 are believed to be subsidiary companies of the state-owned Vietnamese Rubber Group (VRG). The establishment of subsidiary companies is a well-known strategy to overcome the legal limit of 10,000 for ELCs (13).<br/><br/>The affected populations reported here (<35,000) refers to the affected population in Snuol district, according to an USAID report (12). It can be assumed to be much greater if accounting for other neighbouring districts.<br/><br/><a class="seeless" href="#">(See less)</a></div></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td>126,000 (ELC area)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Level of Investment (in USD)</td><td>N/A</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Rural</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Potential Affected Population</td><td>>35,000 </td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>01/01/1996</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/samling-group'>Samling Group</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/malaysia'><small>Malaysia</small></a> - <small>Forestry, Oil palm cultivation, Propery development</small><br /><a href='/company/binh-phouc-kratie-rubber-1-company'>Binh Phouc Kratie Rubber 1 Company</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/cambodia'><small>Cambodia</small></a> - <small>rubber, logging</small><br /><a href='/company/binh-phouc-kratie-rubber-2-company'>Binh Phouc Kratie Rubber 2 Company</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/cambodia'><small>Cambodia</small></a> - <small>rubber, logging</small><br /><a href='/company/vietnam-rubber-group'>Vietnam Rubber Group <small>(VGR)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/vietnam'><small>Vietnam</small></a> - <small>Rubber industry</small><br /><a href='/company/tay-nam-k'>Tay Nam K</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/vietnam'><small>Vietnam</small></a> - <small>rubber, forestry</small><br /><a href='/company/eastern-rubber-cambodia'>Eastern Rubber (Cambodia)</a> from <a href='/country-of-company/cambodia'><small>Cambodia</small></a> - <small>rubber</small></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>Community Forest Network Cambodia <br/><br/>Women for a Peaceful Environment (Satrey Santepheap Daoembei Parethan (SSP)<br/><br/>Natural Resources and Wildlife Preservation Organisation<br/><br/>A series of other national and international NGOs frequently reported on the case, such as ADHOC, or LICADHO, or Global Wittness 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>HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)</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 /> International ejos<br /> Local ejos<br /> Local government/political parties<br /> Neighbours/citizens/communities<br /> Social movements<br /> Women<br /> Ethnically/racially discriminated groups<br /> Local scientists/professionals</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Blockades<br /> Creation of alternative reports/knowledge<br /> Development of a network/collective action<br /> Development of alternative proposals<br /> Involvement of national and international NGOs<br /> Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism<br /> Official complaint letters and petitions<br /> Public campaigns<br /> Property damage/arson</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), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Air pollution, Soil contamination</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Health Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Deaths</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place</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>Application of existing regulations<br /> Moratoria<br /> Corruption<br /> Project temporarily suspended<br /> Criminalization of activists<br /> Repression<br /> Deaths<br /> Strengthening of participation<br /> Violent targeting of activists<br /> Land demarcation<br /> Migration/displacement<br /> Institutional changes</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>As a response to heavy legal logging during the 1990s, the Royal Government of Cambodia, in 2002, introduced a nationwide moratorium on logging activities. This moratorium however could not stop illegal logging due to corruption and new traders.<br/><br/>The alternative proposed by the local Community Forest Network (a local EJO, part of a nationwide network) was to establish a formally recognized community forest, governed by the local population, within the Sanctuary. This alternative was finally formally established and recognized by the Ministry of Environment. Nevertheless, illegal logging continued and moreover also Economic Land Concessions (ELC) were granted covering the whole Sanctuary. This development is in direct conflict with the protected environment area and the community forest. </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>The legal and illegal logging continues, while the forest has largely disappeared and livelihoods have been largely destroyed.</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> Cambodian Foresty Laws and Regulations<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> 2005 Cambodian Subdecree on Economic Land Concessions (ELC)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Cambodian Law on protected areas<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">References</td><td><table><tr><td><p> (1) ARD 2004: Cambodia - An Assessment of Forest Conflict at the Community Level<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> (2) Phonm Penh Post article: Loggin mogul blasted<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (3) Phnom Penh Post Article: Logging Samling Style<br/><a class="refanch small" href=" " target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (5) Phnom Penh Post Article on illegal wood trade to Vietnam<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (6) Cambodian Daily article on crackdowns on illegal logging<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (8) Cambodian Daily Article on community activism against forest destruction<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (10) Phnom Penh Post article on logging and ELCs in Snuol Sanctuary<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (4) Cambodian Daily article: Government orders halt to logging concessions<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (7) Phnom Penh Post Article: Timber Seized during bust<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> (9) Morning Star Article on the death of a journalist reporting on the case<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Media Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Video showing the deforestion in Snuol Wildlife Sacntuary, by the Phnom Penh Post<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" 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>(12) ADHOC 2013 A turning point? Land, housing and natural resources in Cambodia in 2012</strong> Report by the Human Rights NGO ADHOC<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>(13) Global Witness 2013: Rubber Barons</strong> Report by Global Witness on the involvement of Vietnamese rubber companies in land grabbing in Cambodia and Laos<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>(11) USAID 2006: Human Impact of forest conflict</strong> Report by USAID on forst conflicts<br/><a class="refanch small" href="" 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"</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>11/02/2015</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>