Among many, Cambodia is best known for its bitter conflicts -- the incursions from U.S. bombing during the Vietnam War, its numerous civil clashes, and the unbridled horrors of its Killing Fields.
But today, an important new battle is being fought here: one between the forces of economic development, avarice, and corruption on the one hand, and nature conservation, indigenous peoples, and rural communities on the other.
Nowhere is the conflict between 'development' and 'nature' more evident than in northeastern Cambodia.
There, some of Cambodia's biologically richest forests are under assault -- from legal and illegal loggers, industrial rubber and pine plantations, and slash-and-burn farming from immigrants and a growing indigenous populace.
Amid this scene of ecological carnage is a a place known as Elephant Valley.
Writing in the latest issue of The Ecologist, ALERT director Bill Laurance tells how a dedicated group of conservationists are saving elephants and endangered forests in one of Indochina's most imperiled regions, while also providing a model for ecotourism and local-community development.
It's a tale of environmental hope, where fierce dedication and hard work are paying remarkable dividends for nature and indigenous peoples. See it here -- it's a story worth reading and sharing.