Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN) is a network of community members in Prey Lang (which means 'our forest' in the Indigenous Kuy language), a large lowland rainforest in Cambodia. Prey Lang is a critical habitat for many threatened plant and animal species, and important to Kuy and other local livelihoods and cultures. Since 2004, PLCN has been organising community patrols of the forest in order to monitor illegal logging activity and industrial agriculture, and since 2014 they have been using a smartphone app they co-developed to collect data to share with policymakers and the public.

Integrated Forest Observatory System (IFOROS)

Since 2020 (during the Covid-19 pandemic), restrictions have been placed on Prey Lang Community Network to prevent them from entering the forest; members can no longer undertake patrols, and some members have been handed over to the police by private security companies operating in the area. As a result, PLCN and their collaborators are increasingly turning to satellite data to monitor the forest.


The Integrated Forest Observatory System (IFOROS) platform, showing Prey Lang. Image source: IFOROS [screenshot]. Retrieved 10 January 2023, from https://plcn.maps.arcgis.com/apps/PublicInformation/index.html?appid=d6236217236c48aa92e7e3255fb41050

The Integrated Forest Observatory System (IFOROS) platform designed as part of the Citizens Engaged in Environmental Justice for All (CEEJA) project integrates data from PLCN on-the-ground patrols, satellite data from the University of Maryland GLAD datasets, and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre Forest Canopy Disturbance Monitoring tool, and data showing economic and mining concessions in Cambodia. Together, these tools suggest an increase in forest loss, which is particularly concerning at a time when environmental defenders such as PLCN are being prevented from entering the forest. You can read PLCN's most recent statement here.

Prey Lang App

Prey Lang Community Network collects data using the Prey Lang app. As their collaborators at the University of Copenhagen (Brofeldt et al. 2018) describe, the app allows for the creation of geo-located data points with visual and/or audio evidence and a tagging system for the kind of activity detected. The Prey Lang app is based on the open-source Sapelli platform, which was developed to enable a wide range of people and communities to participate in environmental monitoring through using visual as well as written literacies. PLCN have shared their data with the wider public through annual monitoring reports (in Khmer and English), and found that illegal logging is pervasive inside the protected area of Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary.

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