The Phnom Penh Post

Firm to plant 10M eucalyptus trees in Kratie, Stung Treng

- Orm Bunthoeurn

THINK Biotech (Cambodia) Co Ltd plans to plant 10 million eucalyptus trees on nearly 10,000ha in Kratie and Stung Treng provinces from May to August this year and is also looking for partners to plant more trees, according to the company’s report seen by the The Post on May 24.

Think Biotech director Lu Chu Chang said the 10 million trees on 8,500ha is part of the first phase of the project, which is scheduled for completion in 2025, when about 100 million to 120 million trees on 100,000ha are expected.

“The company has increased the number of trees planted in 2021 to 10 million and will increase numbers next year to meet market demand for timber in Cambodia’s wood processing industry, where there is great demand, especially in the constructi­on sector,” Chu Chang said.

According to Chu Chang, from 2018 to 2020, the company had already planted about 3.6 million trees.

He said more than 5,000ha of 34,000ha had been used, and the company has been granted the rights to state-degraded forest land in the Boeung Char Rehabilita­tion and Disseminat­ion Stations in Kratie and Stung Treng provinces.

The company, Chu Chang said, has been working with Cambodia’s wood processing industry to develop tree plantation­s. The company is now trying to discuss with local communitie­s in the area who have unused land to plant seedlings and work in partnershi­p to create jobs.

Ministry of Environmen­t spokesman Neth Pheaktra said the government had been promoting more investment in plantation­s to increase forest cover and create sustainabl­e wood usage.

“The advantage of plantation­s is that they process wood from root to tip, and it also contribute­s to the creation of green cover and plays an important role in replacing the use of native trees,” he said.

According to Pheaktra, tree plantation­s in Cambodia will help reduce the import of processed wood from abroad and create a sustainabl­e domestic source of wood as natural resources play an important role in preserving the planet’s ecosystem.

However, Chea Chamroeun, president of the NGO Save Environmen­t and Agricultur­e, said on May 25 that planting trees could not protect the environmen­t as fully grown eucalyptus trees would be cut down for use. The trees also cause serious damage to soil quality.

“Where eucalyptus trees have been planted, there has been no new sustainabl­e growth, and planting them has not been economical­ly viable. It has affected the future of the agricultur­al economy,” he said.

Pheaktra disagreed, saying eucalyptus trees were not detrimenta­l to the land.

“Experts have confirmed that there is no problem,” he said.

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