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Researchers from The Australian National University (ANU) have warned of the economic consequences for Cambodia if nothing is done to halt illegal deforestation of one of the nation's most important forests - the Veun Sai-Siem Pang National Park.
For the first time, researchers have calculated the financial contribution the forest makes to Cambodia's economy - an estimated US$129.84 million per annum.
Researcher - Abu - Kibria - Hectare - Forest
Lead researcher Abu Kibria said the 55,000 hectare forest on the Cambodian border of Laos and Vietnam, has been disappearing due to illegal logging driven by demand primarily from China and Vietnam.
"If this is allowed to continue there will be significant long-term economic consequences for Cambodia," said Mr Kibria, a PhD scholar in the ANU School of Archaeology and Anthropology.
Research - Partnership - Conservation - International - Forest
The research, done in partnership with Conservation International, found the forest was providing three main streams of financial value - the prevention of soil erosion (US$22 million a year), water storage and distribution (US$32 million a year), and air purification (US$56 million a year).
"The forest is like a sponge. After rainfall, the tree canopy slows down the flow of water, which increases the water...
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