Metta Forest

Metta Forest Clearing Reaches Boundary Limits

After a few months of rapid deforestation, tree-cutting activity at Kampong Speu’s Metta forest has slowed down in recent days as clearings reach the boundary limits of land allocated to families from the military’s tank unit.

A community member living near Kampong Speu’s Metta forest surveys land clearing on June 8, 2022. (Roun Ry/VOD)

Soldiers Rip Up Community’s ‘Forest of Loving Kindness’

As Kampong Speu’s Metta forest is rapidly destroyed, locals’ allegations against Brigade 70 soldiers are multiplying: a monk’s phone confiscated to prevent photos of forest clearing, seven Buddha statues destroyed, and the land sold to tycoons for dirt mining.

The Venerable Prom Thomacheat carrying food for a resident gibbon in the Metta Forest around his pagoda in Trapeang Chour commune, near the Oral Wildlife Sanctuary in Kampong Speu. (Andrew Haffner/VOD)

Soldiers Accused of Firing Warning Shots at Forest Monk

Kampong Speu’s Metta community forest, home to a monk who has been helping locals protect the woods, is seeing rising violence and clearing by soldiers, including warning shots fired at the monk, residents have alleged.

The Venerable Prom Thomacheat carrying food for a resident gibbon in the Metta Forest around his pagoda in Trapeang Chour commune. The monk lives a hermit-like existence near the Oral Wildlife Sanctuary in Kampong Speu. (Andrew Haffner/VOD)

In Tranquil Forest, Nature-Loving Monk Faces a Military Threat

In Kampong Speu, a forest-dwelling monk hoots to mimic animals’ cries and talks of living in harmony with nature. But the community forest where he lives has been handed to the military, and nearby residents are camping among the trees to protect the land.