A World Heritage Site, Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in South-East Asia. Stretching over some 400 square kilometers, the park contains the magnificent remains of the Khmer Empire, dating from the 9th to the 15th century AD.
Today, researchers believe that water scarcity may have caused the demise of what was one of the largest and most important civilizations of its time. By destroying vast tracts of forest to enlarge their farmland, inhabitants of the city of Angkor lit the fuse to an ecological time bomb. Flooding ensued, and huge amounts of sediment and sand washed down the mountains, filling up canals, and possibly choking the vital water management system, thereby making the society vulnerable to attack and invasion.
Furthermore, Cambodia serves as another case study of an environmental phenomenon affecting the entire planet: climate change is causing our glaciers, from the Arctic tundra to the Swiss Alps to the Himalayas, to melt away. As with the Ganges in India, Cambodia along with neighboring China, Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam will suffer tragic consequences if and when the great Mekong River becomes a seasonal river.