Cambodian PM Vows to Shoot Loggers From Helicopters, Again

Cambodian PM Vows to Shoot Loggers From Helicopters, Again

Published: Tuesday, 02 October 2018 16:33

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen promised on Sunday that he would fix his country’s problems with rampant deforestation by shooting those who illegally chop down timber from helicopters.

mondulkiri deforestation
Deforestation in Mondolkiri, Cambodia (CC 4.0)

“It’s correct that we are losing our forests, many are being replaced by rubber plantations,” he said, speaking to members of the Cambodian diaspora in New York.

“I acknowledge that thieves have illegally cut down timber and I am ordering them to be shot from helicopters in the sky.”

Hun Sen made a similar promise two and a half years earlier when he announced that General Sao Sokha, newly appointed as head of a task force to stop illegal logging and timber smuggling, was authorized to fire rockets at loggers from helicopters.

That order came a year after a Global Witness report showed that Hun Sen’s own personal advisor, Try Pheap, headed an illegal logging network that saw millions of dollars of rosewood smuggled to China each year.

Not a shot has been fired from helicopters since that order and the task force did not succeed in halting the flow of luxury timber across Cambodia’s borders to Vietnam.

Hun Sen’s relatives have also long been linked with the country’s illegal timber business.

With hectares of forest falling to loggers and economic land concessions dished out by Cambodia’s ruling party, the country has one of the world’s highest rates of deforestation.

Global Witness meanwhile estimates that evictions that have resulted from logging and the government giving land to agribusinesses have displaced 830,000 people, forcing some into squatting in state forests or cutting down timber themselves.

Speaking Sunday, however, Hun Sen emphasized that it was the country’s now-defunct opposition–whose leader is in exile and whose deputy leader is just out of prison–that should be blamed for illegal logging.

“In many cases [the thieves] went to cut down millions of hectares to cultivate farmlands, including groups [affiliated] with the former opposition,” he said.

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Bromo national park probes cause of 65-hectare wildfire

Bromo national park probes cause of 65-hectare wildfire

Aman Rochman | The Jakarta Post

Malang, East Java | Mon, September 3, 2018 | 01:59 pm

The management of Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park (TNBTS) in East Java is investigating the cause of a wildfire that burned at least 65 hectares of the park’s savannah and vegetation on Saturday.

The fire had been extinguished by Sunday afternoon, but local residents said on Monday morning that fire had again broke out in the area.

TNBTS head John Kennedy said the park was continuing with its investigation.

“The cause of the fire is still under investigation,” he said on Monday. “It is estimated that the fire burned 65 hectares [of Savannah],” he added.

The fire, which burned through the Pentongan Block of the Laut Pasir (Sand Sea) Tengger Resort, reportedly broke out around 9:45 a.m. local time on Saturday.

Initially, the park deployed 15 personnel to put out the fire. The team was later joined by officers of Malang regency’s Poncokusumo Police and 83 local residents.

But the fire continued to spread, said John, and that around 320 people from the area joined the firefighting effort.

John said that the park management temporarily closed on Saturday the Jemplang entrance on its Malang side. The entrance was reopened after the area was deemed safe for visitors.

“We reopened the [Jemplang] entrance on Sunday afternoon. Tourism activities are normal,” he said.

By Sunday evening, most of the fire had been extinguished except for several hot spots on Mount Watangan. (sau)

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Forest fires in Nghe An and Ha Nam due to hot weather

Forest fires in Nghe An and Ha Nam due to hot weather

Last update 14:24 | 03/07/2018

VietNamNet Bridge – Recent hot weather caused fires in Son Tien Commune, in the central province of Ha Tinh, which then spread to the neighboring province of Nghe An, leaving damage in Khanh Son Commune.

It took firefighters 14 hours to stamp out the blaze in the pine forest in Khanh Son Commune.

The fire, which was reported to have started around midday on Sunday, was under control by 2 am on Monday. High temperatures and strong winds were said to have caused difficulties in extinguishing the fire.

Three other forest fires were reported on the same day in other hamlets in the commune.

Last month, fires reportedly destroyed about 100 hectares of forest in the central province.

In the northern province of Ha Nam, more than 300 people, police and firefighters worked to extinguish a forest fire in Thanh Luu Commune, Thanh Liem District.

The fire destroyed about 4.3 hectares of pine, acacia and eucalyptus trees.

A strong heat wave has hit northern and central provinces, pushing average temperatures to over 35 degrees Celsius.

Some areas have reported temperatures as high as 39 degrees Celsius, including 39.4 degrees Celsius in Chi Ne (northern province of Hoa Binh) and Vinh Yen City (Vinh Phuc Province), 39.1 degrees in Lang (Hanoi), 39.5 degrees in Hung Yen, 39.6 degrees in Nho Quan (Ninh Binh Province) and 40.4 degrees in Tinh Gia (Thanh Hoa).

The heat wave that started at the weekend is expected to last until Friday. Some regions will experience average temperatures of above 35 degrees for between 12-16 hours a day.

Experts warn that the heat wave could be dangerous if it lasts for seven consecutive days, leading to negative impacts on human health, especially the elderly and children. Heavy rains are predicted following the high temperatures. Health experts warn that such conditions are ideal for the spread of dengue fever.


Indonesia to raise efforts to reduce haze

Indonesia to raise efforts to reduce haze

Vows to introduce measures to prevent blazes in fire-prone peatland areas

May 3, 2018

The Indonesian government has pledged to raise its efforts to reduce annual choking haze caused by forest fires and crop burning that blanket not only large parts of Indonesia but also several other Southeast Asian countries.

Declaring 2018 as a “zero smoke year”, Bambang Hendroyono, general secretary of the Environment and Forestry Ministry said the government has come up with a concrete plan to reduce the air pollution.

This involved closer monitoring of peatland areas — especially the activities of farmers — speeding up conservation and forest restoration efforts, wetting arid areas and public awareness campaigns.

“Conservation of peatlands is important to decrease the intensity of forest and peatland fires,” said Hendroyono, at a meeting on peatland management in Banjar, Central Kalimantan.

Preventing peatland — of which Indonesia has 14.9 million hectares — from catching fire is a key element of the government’s plan as it acts as a natural fuel and is very difficult to put out once a fire starts.

According to Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar, a fire has consumed more than 3 million hectares of peatland in the last three years.

“Conservation of peatland is important to decrease the intensity of forest and peatlands fires,” Hendroyono said.

Father Frans Sani Lake, head of the church-run Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation group in the Kalimantan region responded by warning the government that it would take a mammoth effort to significantly reduce fires and that they would remain a big threat, particularly during the dry season.

“Being free from haze is a dream of all people. But, we must be realistic and be prepared,” he told

The priest said the church has urged Catholics — through homilies, catechism, and announcements in churches — to be wary of activities that trigger forest fires.

Sacred Heart Father Ansel Amo, who heads Merauke Archdiocese’s Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Commission in Papua, welcomed the government’s move.

“All should respond to this, which serves as a reminder for all of us to protect forests and peatlands, particularly during the dry season,” he said.

Annisa Rahmawati, Senior Forest Campaigner at Greenpeace Southeast Asia said such a commitment to reduce fires must be ongoing.

She said this year there has already been a 20 percent increase on the 2,400 hotspots found last year.

“We hope the government promise is turned into real action,” she told

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Plan to protect Indonesian peatlands with aerial mapping wins US$1m prize

JAKARTA: A plan to use satellite imagery and aerial mapping to protect Indonesia’s peatlands – a vast carbon sink and source of much of the country’s greenhouse emissions – was awarded a US$1 million prize on Friday (Feb 2).

The cutting-edge technology will be used by authorities to clamp down on illegal clearance of the land for plantations, helping to prevent a repeat of annual forest fires that plague the region while also reducing the country’s carbon footprint.

The government, with the support of international partners, came up with the idea of a competition two years ago to help achieve its commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change.