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

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


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.

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Basic Data
NameIllegal logging and ‘timber laundering’ in Lumphat Wildlife Sanctuary, Cambodia
ProvinceRatanakiri province
SiteLumphat district
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Logging and non timber extraction
Specific CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsLumphat Wildlife Sanctuary is protected under the 1993 Royal Decree on Protected Areas, and covers 250,000ha (1).

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).

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).

Illegal logging was reported to have occurred on a 1,500 ha area (6)

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)

124 families filed the complaint (5). Based on average household size, this corresponds to roughly 600 persons.
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population600 directly affected through loss of forest livelihood resources
Start Date14/03/2011
Company Names or State EnterprisesHoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) (HAGL) from Vietnam - rubber, forestry, agro-industry, property development
Hoang Anh Andong Meas Co. from Cambodia - rubber, forestry, logging
Hoang Anh Lumphat Co. from Cambodia - rubber, forestry, logging
Daunh Penh Agrico Co. from Cambodia - forestry, logging, agro-business
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersADHOC Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association

Birdlife International Cambodia
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Air pollution, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Development of AlternativesVillagers and local NGOs request an investigation of illegal logging.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Illegal logging goes on.
Sources and Materials

(2) 2005 Cambodian Subdecree on Economic Land Concessions (ELC)
[click to view]

Law on protected areas in Cambodia
[click to view]


(4) Global Witness 2013: Rubber Barons - how Vietnamese Companies and International Financiers are driving a land grabbing Crisis in Cambodia and Laos.
[click to view]

(7) Global Witness 2015. The Cost of Luxury: Cambodia's illegal trade in precious wood with China.
[click to view]


(1) Open Development Cambodia: Protected Areas (accessed 19/02/2015)
[click to view]

(3) LICADHO: The Great Cambodian Giveaway - interactive ELC Map (accessed 19/02/2015)
[click to view]

(5) Phnom Penh Post article (17.11.2013): "Wildlife Sanctuary Illegally logged" (accessed 19/02/2015)
[click to view]

(6) Phnom Penh Post article (25.04.2013) "Forest razed to tune $100 million" (accessed 19/02/2015)
[click to view]

(8) Phnom Penh Post article (11.04.13) "Sanctuary ravaged for timber: rights groups" (accessed 19/02/2015)
[click to view]

(9) Phnom Penh Post article (02.02.2015) "Timber found in sanctuary" (accessed 19/02/2015)
[click to view]

(10) Phnom Penh Post article (26.04.2015) "Sanctuary 'protected'"(accessed 19/02/2015)
[click to view]

(11) Phnom Penh Post article (31.01.2014) "Sanctuary bridge 'torched'" (accessed 19/02/2015)
[click to view]

Other Documents

Illegaly logged luxury timber Source:
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorA. Scheidel (ICTA-UAB) / arnim.scheidel "at"
Last update24/02/2015