Pheapimex-Fuchan conflict, Cambodia


In 2000, Pheapimex attempted to start operations in an area of 6800 ha in Ansa Chambak. However, the inhabitants were successful in halting the conversion of their forest. Resistance involved road blockades, filing lawsuits and challenging the government. Between 2001 and 2004, Pheapimex carried out no further work on site and the threat of the eucalypt plantation appeared to have receded. In 2004, however, hundreds of workers and heavy equipment arrived in Ansa Chambak and proceeded to bulldoze the forest, establish a tree nursery, and extend a road network in the forest area. The people of Ansa Chambak attempted to stop the operations. Several hundred villagers demonstrated along highway 5. In order to prevent the bulldozers from entering the concession area, villagers decided to organize a watch of the machinery. Someone threw a grenade into a group of sleeping villagers, injuring eight of them. The government’s immediate response was to announce the temporary suspension of the company’s activities until the outstanding problems were solved. The next day, authorities organised a meeting and made several promises to local inhabitants. Most of the promises were not kept and the company, after a week of inactivity, resumed its operations. The day after the attack, local police, without producing any supporting evidence, accused the villagers of throwing the grenade at themselves.

Basic Data
NamePheapimex-Fuchan conflict, Cambodia
ProvincePursat province
SiteAnsa Chambak
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
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific CommoditiesLand
Project Details and Actors
Project Area (in hectares)6800
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Populationseveral hundreds
Start Date2000
End Date2005
Company Names or State EnterprisesPheapimex Group from Cambodia
Pheapimex-Fuchan from China
Environmental justice organisations and other supporterssupport of local NGOs
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
Local ejos
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseProject temporarily suspended
- Project continued.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The project continued.
Sources and Materials

World Rainforest Movement (WRM), 2005. The death of the forest: a report on Wuzhishan’s and Green Rich’s tree plantation activities in Cambodia. Montevideo: WRM.
[click to view]

Cambodia's Curse: The Modern History of a Troubled Land, by Joel Brinkle


Cambodia: Eucalyptus plantations and pulp production threaten forests and rivers
[click to view]

Timber Giant Plans Clearing for Plantation
[click to view]

Other CommentsThe WRM reference contains the best material available. But data more recent than 2005 are needed!
Meta Information
ContributorJ.-F. Gerber
Last update20/06/2014