Phnom Penh Post, the - Post Media Co, Ltd
By Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon and Khouth Sophak Chakrya
The first dedicated research unit for studying wildfires in upper Asean countries, including Cambodia, could provide invaluable research data to help governments address the issue, scientists and conservationists said yesterday.
“There is no existing focus or direct research center or special research unit that deals directly with wildland fires, smoke and haze under vegetation types, geographic conditions, weather patterns and related human behaviors of mainland Southeast Asia,” reads the founding statement of the Upper Asean Wildland Fire Special Research Unit (WFSRU).
Established last month within Thailand’s Kasetsart University, the unit aims to fill a significant gap in the region’s knowledge and research on wildfires, forest fires and their impacts on the environment and human society and health in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.
One of its three founders, Dr Veerachai Tanpipat, said the unit’s activities fall under the Global Wildland Fire Network, which was mandated in 2004 by the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.
“It will act as a focal point to provide all necessary fire, smoke and haze scientific and management knowledge to interested parties,” he said in an email.