The road, which satellite imagery shows expanded rapidly . Continuing in the forest as of May, leads to a newly approved limestone mining concession within the boundaries of the protected area. Moreover, this opened up new access points for locals, many of whom have seen their livelihoods reduced to illegal logging.
But while the scale of the logging done by locals is hard to quantify. In particular, within a protected forest, itspans 431,683 hectares (1.07 million acres) over four provinces. The immediate loss to the mining concession was detailed clearly in documents seen by Mongabay.
Despite illegally harvested timber being transported openly from KP Cement’s mining concession across road networks. It leads directly out of the protected area and back past the village of Sre Pnee. The locals said there had been minimal intervention from Ministry of Environment rangers stationed less than 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the concession.
Local residents have suggested that rangers working with the Ministry of Environment in Kratie province. They have established set prices for bribes in exchange for not confiscating chainsaws, ko-yun and other logging equipment.
The documents confirming KP Cement’s concession do not state whether the company, or a separate one, has the right to harvest the timber from the 938-hectare plot. But when a concession is granted in a protected area, it falls to the Ministry of Environment to manage the concession. Due to logging opportunities presented by Think Biotech’s concession, rangers and local officials within the Ministry of Environment are believed to enjoy close ties to the company.