Timber extraction by parties engaged in military conflict in order to finance their military operations has become increasingly more common in recent years.
King Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia reported in 1996 that even if the civil war with the Khmer Rouge in the country was to end, the country faces a natural disaster from the continuing logging operations underway both in Khmer Rouge held areas and those areas held by government forces. Both sides have awarded major concessions to international logging concerns for the country's valuable natural resource in a bid to fund their military operations.
Reports from the UK environmental organisation Global Watch estimate that between January 1996 and April 1997, US $116 million in timber was illegally exported from Cambodia. The reports allege logging companies are working without permits and making payments to supporters of Mr Hun Sen, who overthrew Norodom Ranariddh in a coup. In addition, the "anarchic situation" caused by the coup has led to indiscriminate logging in a number of areas controlled by military officials loyal to Hun Sen. Illegal logging is seen as an important means for funding provincial military authorities and the various private security forces. Cambodia has lost 35 percent of its forest cover in the past two decades.