Cambodia Burning (2020)
Sean Gallagher is a British photojournalist and filmmaker whose work focuses on highlighting issues related to the climate crisis and other global environmental problems. The project, entitled Cambodia Burning, was made in early 2020 and shows the impacts of rampant deforestation on the forests of the South East Asian country. It was created in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.
In 2018, fires burnt in record numbers throughout the forests of north and central Cambodia. At their peak during the dry season between January and March, it is estimated up to 1,800 fires were burning, more than any other country throughout South East Asia at that time. Deforestation has been accelerating too and it is estimated that there is only 3% of primary forest left throughout the country; the main drivers being the conversion of forest lands for agricultural use and targeted logging of valuable species, such as Rosewood, for the Asian furniture markets. Decades of forest clearance have also decimated the country’s biodiversity. Iconic animals such as tigers and elephants have long since been eradicated from most of the country’s forests.