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Cambodia Burning

Sean Gallagher | Cambodia

Aerial view of burning land near the Phnom Tnout Phnom Pok Wildlife Sanctuary, in Songkom Thmey District, Preah Vihear Province, northern Cambodia. During the dry season between January to March, hundreds of fires continually rage across the country. Land is burnt by farmers, loggers and local people looking to either capture wildlife or clear land for agriculture. Cambodia has one of the world's fastest rates of deforestation and it is estimated only 3% of primary forest is now left.

Deforestation has been accelerating across Cambodia in the early 21st century and it is estimated that there is only 3% of primary forest left throughout the country.

In 2018, fires burnt in record numbers throughout the forests of north and central Cambodia. At their peak during the dry season between January and March, it is estimated up to 1,800 fires were burning in the country, more than in any other country throughout South East Asia at that time.

The main drivers behind deforestation in Cambodia are conversion of forest lands for agricultural use and targeted logging of valuable species, such as Rosewood, for the Asian furniture markets.

Decades of forest clearance have decimated the country’s biodiversity. Iconic animals such as tigers and elephants have long since been eradicated from most of the country’s forests.

National-level protection is weak and it now seems only small independent groups of conservationists are the last line of defence trying to protect what is left of Cambodia’s once great forests.

Website: https://gallagher-photo.com

Email: sean@gallagher-photo.com

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