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Project April 4, 2012

As Cambodia’s Economy Grows, Its Rainforest Disappears


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Twenty years ago Cambodia was under the control of the United Nations Transitional Authority preparing to hold free elections. Politically the country was given a chance to start over after its history of violent conflicts under the Khmer Rouge. Since then, the country has undergone significant growth, but it is this growth that is contributing to the country's deforestation.

Rapid development and population growth are issues that many countries face, and they lead to the degradation of the environment. Cambodia has experienced both rapid development and population growth as well as illegal logging—the country now has one of the worst deforestation rates in the world.

Not only is the sustainability of forests important from an environmental standpoint but resources from the forest also provide a key component to the income of rural households. A number of programs, both governmental and non-profit, have been working to address Cambodia's environmental issues, and yet the amount of forest cover continues to drop each year.

This project examines not only the effectiveness of policies that deal with the current causes of deforestation in Cambodia but also with the consequences for rural households.