Centuries-old trees saved

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Estimated to be more than 300 years old, the trees are located along an avenue median between Ang Duong Hospital and Canadia Tower in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district. Heng Chivoan

Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng has issued new instructions to preserve three very old trees situated along an avenue median between Ang Duong Hospital and Canadia Tower in the capital’s Daun Penh district.

The trees are estimated to be more than 300 years old and had been slated to be removed due to concerns over their health.

While leading officials on an inspection of the three trees on January 12, Sreng confirmed the decision to preserve them after seeing that they were still standing well.

Sreng instructed the municipal departments of Environment; Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; and Public Works and Transport to cooperate in taking care of the trees, trimming only as necessary and removing dead branches.

He noted that supports should be added around the trees to preclude the possibility of their collapsing and endangering the public.

“In Phnom Penh, no trees will be cut down, instead, authorities will plant more to make the city greener and more environmentally friendly,” said Sreng.

Municipal hall spokesman Met Meas Pheakdey told The Post on January 12 that the governor decided to keep the three 300-year-old trees as part of an effort to preserve all the trees in Phnom Penh.

Pheakdey did not have information on hand about the number of trees around the capital which were more than 100 years old, referring questions to expert officials at the municipal administration.

Previously, Sam Samuth, director of the Garden and Plant Unit under the municipal public works department, had announced on January 8 that the municipal authorities, with approval from the agriculture ministry, planned to cut down the three trees and replace them.

He noted that there were about 50 big trees on the avenue median, of which three had rotted and become hollow, making them a potential hazard to pedestrians and vehicles.

Loeung Vong Visoth, a Phnom Penh resident who frequently travels along the avenue, said he would like to see authorities save these trees because they beautify the city and provide shade to visitors.

However, if authorities perceive some sort of risk associated with the trees, they should take measures to monitor and prune them for the safety of people in the area, he said.