Tag Archives: forest

Rapid forest lands degradation under conventional tillage farming

More fertile and accessible forest lands are first reclaimed for farming. As the land is saturated and so expensive, the farmers reclaim everywhere possible even though it is illegal. The poorest are in vicious cycle of pushing by high land price and pulling by available forest lands thanks to high price of agricultural produces and Thai market. The farmers were happy exploiting from the soil by cultivating 2 crops per year without applying any organic or chemical fertilizers. Continuous intensive soil tillage with mono-cropping practice has rapidly degraded the soil and pests prevalence leading to more and more uses of agro-chemicals and profitability decline.

01-2012; RM; Rada Kong.
01-2012; RM; Rada Kong.

Shallow soil profile of forest land

More fertile and accessible forest lands are first reclaimed for farming. As the land is saturated and so expensive, the farmers reclaim everywhere possible. A myth saying all forest lands are fertile is not true. Some forest lands have much less potential for agriculture due to rocky, shallow, and too steep. The farming could last for 1-2 year farming, and is then abandoned or if lucky sold for other purposes. Rather wasting money, it is much worth to keep those rich biodiversity forests for ecosystem services.

January 2012; Rovieng , Preash Vihear; by Rada Knng
January 2012; Rovieng , Preash Vihear; by Rada Knng

Local demining for farming

Rattanak Mundol, Battambang, August 2012, RK
Rattanak Mundol, Battambang, August 2012, RK

Poorest farmers used to reclaim landmines suspected forests and often sell out later when the price is higher. Some, and particularly former Khmer Rouge soldiers, demine the land by themselves. They usually rent detector for anti-tank mines. Others pay for demining service between 50 to 100$/ha and then clear the land manually or mechanically. Tractor are used to reclaim deciduous forests.

Shallow soil profile of forest land

 

OCT 2015 ; Rattanak Mundol, Battambang ; By RK
OCT 2015 ; Rattanak Mundol, Battambang ; By RK

More fertile and accessible forest lands are first reclaimed for farming. As the land is saturated and expensive, the farmers reclaim everywhere possible. However, some forest lands have less potential for agriculture due to rocks, shallow soil, and steep slope. The farming could last for 1-2 year, and is then abandoned or sold for other purposes. Rather wasting money, it is much worth to keep these rich biodiversity forests for ecosystem services.

 

Replacing semi-evergreen forest by cassava

2008 Kaev Seima, Mundolkiri By Rada Kong
2008
Kaev Seima, Mundolkiri
By Rada Kong

Significant increase of cassava price before its fall in 2009 and weak enforcement of land law 2001 had driven illegally reclaiming remarkable forest lands for cassava planting by poor smallholders. Besides high profitability (at least during the first years), planting cassava is the cheapest way to secure ownership as its cycle is more than 10 months.