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Lost World

As Singapore dredges sand out from beneath Cambodia’s mangrove forests, an ecosystem, a communal way of life, and one woman’s relationship to her beloved home are faced with the threat of erasure. For over a decade, the government of Cambodia has granted several private companies concessions to mine these mangrove forests for sand. Each year, millions of metric tons of sand are shipped to Singapore to enlarge this island nation’s landmass, while Cambodia destroys its only natural protection against erosion, rising sea levels, tsunamis, and hurricanes and lays waste to a vital and fragile ecosystem that thousands of families depend on for their livelihood.

Lost World director Kalyanee Mam has always been intrigued and inspired by the story of home. Born in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime, she and her family were forced to flee their homeland, eventually arriving in the United States in 1981.

On her first trip to the mangrove forests near the island of Koh Sralau and along Cambodia’s coastline, Kalyanee had no idea how extensive the mangrove forests were or how spectacular they would be.

Read the companion article to follow Kalyanee in her journey to document the impact of sand dredging on the mangroves and on the lives of the people who love and rely on them

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