In Cambodia 80% of the population live in rural areas and depend largely on natural resources. Trees provide many of these resources, including firewood, watershed protection, building materials, fruits and traditional medicine. Unfortunately, between 1980 and 2000, the forest cover in Cambodia decreased from 70% to 30%. To combat this problem, in 2000 and 2001 Mlup Baitong planted 17,546 native tree seedlings. The trees were planted on land that belongs to the Pudrie pagoda in the Phnom Sruich district. A tree planting ceremony was conducted to demonstrate the importance of reforestation. Monks, villagers, school children and local officials attended the ceremony and all the participants planted seedlings after the ceremony. A local committee was formed to manage the project and monks will continue to care for the seedlings. A portion of the trees were grown from locally collected seed and grown in local nurseries run by monks and schools. This local production of seedlings was an effort to make the project more sustainable. The Farmers Association of Kompong Speu also partnered in this project and Larson-Juhl was the sponsor.
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