Cambodia can use its pristine rainforests and impressive wildlife population to salvage its ruined economy - not by culling the trees or killing the animals, but by displaying them, This novel proposal has been presented by Marshall Perry, an American businessman and the director of the Society for Ecology and Wildlife Preservation in Cambodia.

Marshall endeavours to turn the country into a "world national park". He believes that Cambodia, after 25 years of civil war, is lagging too far behind its booming south-east Asian neighbours to ever hope to be at par with them in the fields of industry and communications. But it might yet emerge the winner by pursuing a completely different track.

Marshall is proposing a development policy founded on "nature-based and cultural tourism", supplemented by a "limited number of environment-friendIy, resource-based industries". While some of his critics are pooh-poohing the suggestion, the government is in a mood to give Marshall a chance. Cambodia's environment ministry is at present working on a National Environmental Action Plan - which will develop Marshall's proposals - in collaboration with the World Bank.

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