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Support Advocacy Initiative in Logging Issue in Pu Kong Village

Pu Kong village, which is predominately populated by Indigenous People, has many natural resources potentially available for use by the community, forestry in particular. Having established a Community-based Production Forest (CPF) of 12,000 ha within Seima Protection Area and Biodiversity Conservation Area in 2006, community members have been able to access the resources of this forest. Community members in Pu Kong village and near-by communities such as Pucha and O’Chra village have the opportunity to improve their livelihoods through access to natural resources such as honey, animals, nuts, seeds, berries, mushrooms, oils, medicinal plants, fuel, and resin trees.
DPA has been supporting this community to gain a community land title showing their ownership of communal land. Pu Kong community has been recognised as a legal entity by the Ministry of Interior, however in the meantime they are being affected by illegal logging by outsiders. Economic Land Concessions have been granted to Bin Feuk1 and Sovanreachsey Company and currently these companies came to clear the forest for the establishment of rubber plantations. This has a large impact on those who depend on non timber forest products (NTFP), particularly resin trees which are an important income source for them.
Community representative Mr. Vanna Khlerk, 38, said “42 families in Pu Kong village have from 25 to 300 resin trees per family, which provide annual income of from 300,000 to 1,000,000 riel (USD$75-250) per year. However, with thousands of resin trees being destroyed by outsiders, we do not have as much income from this anymore. Even though there has been some protection from the local community, illegal logging activities are still continuing.
Following the community’s request for support, DPA has helped them to collect information and has shared this with the provincial natural resource management (NRM) network to identify an advocacy strategy. DPA also advised the community as they wrote a complaint letter to the provincial councilor of Mundolkiri province for intervention. In cooperation with DPA, the provincial councilor of Mondulkiri, Keoseima district governor, and NRM network representatives conducted a field visit to verify this information in person with the affected community in order to report to the provincial governor for legal intervention of this case.
As a result, the Mundolkiri provincial governor ordered the Keosiema district governor to write a letter to Bin Feuk1 and Sovanreachsey Company to recheck their operation and find a solution for the community. At the same time, DPA and Indigenous People and Forestry Network (IPFN) members supported the community to establish a patrol team to monitor this illegal logging activity. However, the community reported that the illegal logging activities are still happening, despite community members confiscating some saw machines.
To support this intervention, DPA staff also shared this case with IPFN members to seek their support. In August 2013, DPA coordinated with IPFN members to conduct a field investigation to collect information and evidence for advocacy purposes. Additionally, DPA and network members discussed this issue with the Provincial Forestry Administration Cantonment (PFAC) and provincial government to seek a solution.
DPA and IPFN have developed a report on this case and strengthened the community patrol teams to monitor the illegal logging regularly. DPA will continue to discuss this with the IPFN network to develop advocacy strategies to address the problem for the community.