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Trinity34
8th Feb 2005, 02:31
Forest Under Threat

Land encroachment in northwestern Cambodia is threatening the future of nature conservation efforts funded by actress Angelina Jolie.
Mounh Sarath, director of Cambodian Vision in Development, said some 1,000 people have recently settled about three miles inside a protected site in Pailin, a former war zone.

The new settlers, who moved in from other provinces about four months ago, have cut down the forest to grow crops, he said.

Jolie is giving his group US$1.5 million for its work to protect about 148,200 acres of forest in Samlaut and Pailin, former strongholds of the murderous Khmer Rouge regime that ruled Cambodia in the 1970s.

Mounh Sarath said the Pailin part of the project could fail unless the government takes action to stop land encroachment.

"The new settlers will attract more people to the area. Any expansion of new settlement will affect our conservation work. Our project might even fail," he said.

Ieng Vuth, deputy governor of the Pailin municipality, acknowledged that there has recently been encroachment in the conservation area. He said authorities were working on a plan to evict them.

The Cambodian Vision in Development is also dubbed the "Maddox Jolie Project." Maddox is the name of Jolie's son, whom she adopted from Cambodia.

Jolie is the star of the adventure movie "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," which was partially shot at Cambodia's famed Angkor Wat temple.

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