Cambodia has the sad record of being a world champion of deforestation: It lost 64 square kilometers of rainforest in 2021 alone. And if we look at the past decade, the record loss extends to half of what was once considered the Amazon of mainland Southeast Asia.
With support from the Pulitzer Center, we followed Cambodian activists fighting the illegal timber trade. There, we documented the impact of deforestation, which exacerbates the effects of climate change.
Cambodia's main natural resource is timber. It is the leading cause of deforestation. Making way for large plantations is another leading cause. One of the movement's leaders is Heng Sros, 27. The regime in Phnom Penh imprisoned Sros for his fight against traffickers and complaints about the military's complicity. With Sros, we stopped live traffickers. And with his help, we reconstructed how valuable wood is transported to Vietnam and then makes its way to international markets under false certifications.