The Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN) is a network of local community members working to save the Prey Lang forest from illegal logging and industrial agriculture. The network patrols the forest and records illegal logging and conversion of forest within the protected Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary and reports its findings to policy makers and the general public.
PLCN collects and communicates information on illegal logging activity in the Prey Lang forest. The information is collected by the network during patrols into the forest using smartphone technology. The network brings the information to national policy makers and the Cambodian public in reports and on social media.
How we organize
PLCN has 400 active members from communities in Prey Lang’s surrounding provinces – Kratie, Stung Treng, Kampong Thom, and Preah Vihear. All members give their time and efforts to preserve the forest on a voluntary basis.
The network is organized into an elected core group of 28 network members and a Steering Committee comprising a representative from each of the provinces.
Patrolling the forest is PLCN’s main activity and PLCN enters the Prey Lang forest several times every month on 3-4 day patrols. A part from collecting information on illegal logging, members also initiate peaceful dialogues with illegal loggers and confiscate chainsaws and logged wood during patrols.
On a patrol PLCN members usually follow the sounds of logging such as chainsaws and large trucks. In most cases, loggers manage to leave before our members reach them, abandoning logged timber and chainsaws.
In these circumstances, the chainsaws are confiscated, their serial numbers noted down and they are subsequently handed over to the Ministry of Environment. The timber is often impossible to transport and therefore left behind or burned.
When PLCN members encounter loggers during patrols, the first step is to initiate a peaceful dialogue with them. We then check whether they have logging permits. If they do not, which is usually the case, we inform them about the destructive effects of logging on the forest and communities.
We then make the loggers sign a contract stating that they will not take part in illegal logging activities in the future. These contracts then form a database of the names and faces of illegal loggers.
PLCN has received three international prizes rewarding our work to protect the forest.
ISFT Innovation Prize
In January 2017, PLCN received the International Society for Tropical Foresters (ISTF) Innovation Prize. The Yale School of Forest and Environmental Studies awards this prize.
The Innovation Prize is given to honor outstanding multidisciplinary projects that address sustainable resource use in the tropics.
Read more about the ISTF Innovation Prize here
The UNDP Equator Initiative Prize
In December 2015, PLCN were awarded the prestigious UNDP Equator Initiative Prize at COP21 in Paris. The prize is awarded by the UNDP Equator Initiative to recognize outstanding community efforts to reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
Read more about the Equator Prize here
In September 2013, PLCN received the Alexander Soros Foundation Annual Award. The Award was given to PLCN in honor of environmental activist Chut Wutty (link), who was assassinated in 2012.
Read more about the Alexander Sores Foundation Award here