Cambodian farmers need more climate resistant rice varieties. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Philippines-based International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has agreed to help Cambodia plant new high-yielding rice varieties that are also able to survive extreme climatic events.

Read more: Researchers seek new rice varieties


Flooded forests burning last year at the Prek Toal bird sanctuary in Battambang Province. Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon

Last year’s drought caused a nationwide crisis, with harvests ruined, forest fires raging and many rural families struggling to feed themselves. As experts take stock of the impact, news of another potential El Niño raises a question: Is Cambodia prepared for the next drought?

Read more: The new normal: facing climate change


  • Cambodia lost around 1.59 million hectares of tree cover between 2001 and 2014, and just 3 percent remains covered in primary forest.
  • This deforestation has led to the decline of wildlife habitat and the disappearance of tigers from the country – as well as the release of millions of tons of CO2.
  • The NASA imagery shows the rapid development of rubber plantations over the past decade.
  • Research attributes the jump in Cambodian deforestation rates primarily to changes in the global rubber price and an increase in concession deals between the government and plantation and timber companies.
Cambodia has one of the world’s highest rates of deforestation, losing a Connecticut-size area of tree cover in just 14 years. This week, NASA released before-and-after satellite images of plantation expansion in central Cambodia that provide a dramatic example of the Southeast Asian country’s fast-paced land cover changes.

Read more: NASA releases images of dramatic deforestation in Cambodia


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