Page last updated at 23:24 GMT, Thursday, 29 May 2008 00:24 UK

In pictures: Life on the Tonle Sap

Young people cluster in their boats on the Tonle Sap lake

The Tonle Sap is vital to Cambodia, both in terms of the wildlife it nurtures and the communities that depend on it to live.

A view of floating houses in Preak Toal

Many people live in floating villages like Preak Toal. In the dry season people group together. But when the lake expands, they spread out and move deep into the flooded forest.

A footbridge in Kampong Klaeng, leading to houses built high on stilts

Others live in high stilted houses around the lake. For half the year they live on dry land, but for the other half their fields, roads and bridges disappear under water.

Mothers and children in Kampong Klaeng

People are very poor and most depend on fishing to live. But the population around the lake is growing, leading to the over-exploitation of its resources.

Floating houses in Preak Toal

In the floating villages, every aspect of life is connected to the lake, its seasonal changes and the fish that live in it.

Siamese crocodiles in an enclosure attached to a floating house in Preak Toal

As fish stocks fall, some families have turned to breeding Siamese crocodiles for their skin and their meat. They harvest snakes from the lake to feed them.

Mushrooms being cultivated by a resident in Preak Toal

Others are experimenting with new money-making projects, such as growing mushrooms inside their houses.

A man fishes in a channel leading to the Tonle Sap lake

But hundreds of thousands of people depend on the fish in the lake to live - which is why properly managing its resources is so important.




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