Logging in Muddy Waters: The Politics of Forest Exploitation in Cambodia

TitleLogging in Muddy Waters: The Politics of Forest Exploitation in Cambodia
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsLe Billon P
Secondary TitleCritical Asian Studies
IssueAugust 2014
Key themesCivilSociety-Donors, FDI, MarginalisedPeople

"Logging in Muddy Waters" analyzes the boom in forest exploitation that characterized the 1990s in Cambodia, focusing on the instrumentalization of disorder and violence as a mode of control of forest access and timber-trading channels. The article examines tensions existing between the aspirations of Cambodians for a better life, the power politics of elites, and the hope of some in the international community for a green and democratic peace. These tensions have produced both an interlocking pattern of "illegal logging" from the highest levels of the state to self-demobilized soldiers and peasants and sustained criticism that was only temporarily resolved through a legalization of the forest sector that benefited large-scale companies to the prejudice of the poor.


Available for download



Document Type

Journal Article