TOKYO/PREY LANG, Cambodia -- A rough trail leads from the village of Toal, on the edge of the vast Prey Lang nature reserve in northeastern Cambodia, to the ranger station at Spong in its interior. Traversing the road -- a slalom of shifting white silt, punctuated by slippery riverbeds veined with tree roots -- takes an organ-jarring two hours on the rangers' Honda motorbikes, first through broken forest and farmland, then into denser woodland.
Torch Vichet, the head ranger, rides pillion on the lead bike with a rifle balanced on one hip. Just under halfway to the station, he calls for a halt: A few paces from the track, a dipterocarp tree, nearly a meter in diameter, has been felled. Its base is sheared cleanly, the upper reaches half-buried in the undergrowth. The midsection has been cut into rings and dragged away.