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Cambodia Timber Legality Risk Assessment

Publication Date
20 Nov 2020
Preferred by Nature
Preferred by Nature
Serial No.
Cambodia Timber Legality Risk Assessment

Preferred by Nature, a Voices for Mekong Forests project partner, published the Timber Legality Risk Assessment to evaluate the risk of illegality in Cambodia for five categories and 21 sub-categories of law.

Nearly half of Cambodia is forested. Forest cover decreased from 60 percent in 2010 to 45 percent in 2016. The forest cover consists of Production Forests and Protected Areas. A little more than a quarter of land in Cambodia is designated as a protected area, in which development is prohibited or limited for ecological or cultural conservation.

Data shows that between 2001 and 2018, Cambodia’s protected areas lost 557,000 hectares of tree cover, about 11.7 percent of the total protected area in Cambodia. Protected areas provide habitat for hundreds of species. There are several reports and news articles reporting the illegal export of timber from Cambodia, specifically going to Viet Nam and China. 

The legal framework of the environment and natural resources sector has recently been under various reforms, such as the jurisdictional transfer to the Ministry of Environment, redefinition of Forestry Administration and decentralization process across the country. Significant changes should be anticipated in the next few years. Since 2002 there has been a moratorium in place for timber from forest concessions in natural forest. The moratorium was put in place due to a lack of control of the timber harvesting.

Several legality risks are present in Cambodia timber supply chains. The risks are wide-ranging and relate to legal rights to harvest, taxes and fees timber harvesting activities, third parties’ rights, and trade and transport. If you are sourcing timber from Cambodia you should take care to ensure the extensive risks identified are not present in your supply chains or have been sufficiently mitigated.