PHNOM PENH, May 27 (Xinhua) -- The Cambodian government designated nearly 3,500 hectares of forest land in northwest Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provinces as natural heritage sites in a bid to facilitate the protection of biodiversity and natural ecosystems in the kingdom for future generations, the Khmer Times reported on Wednesday.
Nine sub-decrees, signed by Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen on Monday, listed three newly designated natural heritage sites in Battambang, namely Prampi Mountain covering 354 hectares, Teak Traing Mountain (79.8 hectares), and Kiriyong Mountain (984.3 hectares).
Six mountains from Banteay Meanchey were also listed: Phnom Preah-Phnom Veng (1,500 hectares), Svay Mountain (16 hectares), Bak Mountain (36 hectares), Chunh Chaing Mountain (19 hectares), Preah Netr Preah Mountain (13 hectares), and Yey Som Mountain (416 hectares).
The designation of the nine mountainous areas as natural heritage sites, according to the sub-decrees, seeks to conserve and protect the kingdom's rich natural resources and promote sustainable development.
"It encourages the participation of local communities, as well as the public, in contributing to the management of such natural and cultural heritage sites in the region," the sub-decrees stated.
Environment Ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said the ministry will oversee the implementation of the sub-decrees, especially the prevention of land encroachment and other forestry crimes.
"Those areas are not just home to a vast array of wildlife and other natural resources, they also represent the kingdom's historical and cultural heritage and tourism potential," he was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
A report from the Ministry of Environment said it is currently overseeing the management of more than 60 protected and biodiversity conservation areas, which cover more than 7.2 million hectares, equivalent to about 41 percent of the total land area in the country. Enditem