Purpose of Project
The project works toward the conservation of the key components of the biodiversity of Cambodia’s Northern Plains landscape by enhancing national and local capacities to conserve more than 500,000 hectares of dry and evergreen forests and wetlands. It aims to support integrated conservation and development planning at the landscape level and to establish appropriate community land tenure and resource-use rights. It also aims to encourage community engagement in natural resource management and to strengthen capacity for biodiversity management. This is being achieved through a seven-year, three-pronged approach: (1) the introduction of biodiversity considerations into provincial level land use processes; (2) the demonstration of specific mainstreaming interventions at three key sites (including community land-use tenure, community contracts and incentives for biodiversity supportive land use practices, as well as work to mainstream biodiversity into the forestry and tourism productive sectors); and (3) strengthen biodiversity management by government at the three key sites.
- Conduct social and ecological research and assessments.
- Conduct participatory land use planning, zoning and mapping and develop management plans for conservation areas.
- Zone and demarcate protected forests and wildlife sanctuaries.
- Set up management structures for conservation areas and equip them with staff and facilities.
- Conduct field monitoring of forests and wildlife, and law enforcement in forests and other conservation areas.
- Engage communities in forest protection, wildlife conservation and protected areas management through incentive schemes, village agreements and the development of alternative livelihoods.
- Develop financial mechanisms for long-term conservation of the areas, including reviewing the feasibility of a project under the UN collaborative programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).
- The CALM Project is working on community land management in 14 villages in the Northern Plains landscape. Six villages in Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary (KPWS) have had community zones approved by the provincial demarcation committee. Three villages received approval as indigenous villages from the Ministry of Rural Development. Additionally, two villages have had their zones approved by the Cambodian Council of Ministers.
- Nearly 7,000 ha of land has been demarcated for use by Dangphlat village in Preah Vihear Protected Forest (PVPF) and Tmatboey village KPWS. Land use plans have been finalized and community zone boundaries marked, leading to a reduction in local land conflict issues and stabilisation of land use.
- Community land use plans have been completed in eight villages and are under way in another six.
- Sixteen commune councils whose plans incorporate conservation priorities were funded to partake in activities including awareness- raising on laws, rights and gender issues and community patrolling.
- The Bird Nest Direct Payment scheme pays incentives to villagers who report nests of threatened species and protect chicks until they flee the nests. In 2008-9, 88 people in 21 villages benefited from the scheme and in 2010-11, some 316 nests of 10 species were recorded. Ibis rice, a wildlife-friendly rice production scheme, pays a premium for rice purchased from farmers who respect agreed land-use plans. The rice is sold at a premium to hotels and tourists in siem reap and elsewhere in Cambodia. In 2010-11, a total 119 tonnes were bought from 115 families in four villages which provided benefits of $36,497.
- Community income from tourism in 2010 totaled to $20,083 (Tmatboey: $13,325; Dangphlat $6,758)
- Sixty-one government staff and community members received Monitoring Information system (MIST) refresher courses to monitor law enforcement, 14 received wildlife survey training and nine were trained in carbon stock sampling techniques for REDD project development. Training was also given to 38 female members of local Community Based organisations committees on leadership.
- Three hundred and ten soldiers received training in protected area laws,forestry laws and land use.
- Five hundred and ninety-four people attended meetings on community zonation in six villages.
- Community land use monitoring implemented by four villages.
- Forest cover monitoring completed for the whole CAlM project site in the Northern Plains landscape. This found that the forest cover loss inside the landscape was ten times less than that outside the landscape indicating the effectiveness of management developed under the CAlM project.
- Large mammal monitoring indicates a recovery of wildlife populations since the start of the CAlM project. Notably, mediumsized species such as red muntjac and wild pigs have increased spectacularly over the last three years. Other species such as large deer, carnivores and primates also appear to have populations which have stabilized or are increasing.
The Northern Plains of Cambodia are the largest remaining extensive and intact block of unique landscape that is of exceptional global importance for biodiversity conservation. Dominated by open deciduous forest, grasslands and seasonal wetlands, the plains are home to threatened large mammals, including the Asian elephant, leopard, eld’s deer, wild cattle, and globally endangered birds, including the critically endangered giant ibis, the white-shouldered ibis, sarus crane, and three species of vultures. It is either a last refuge or home to a key population of nearly 50 species on the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN) red list of Threatened Species.
To reduce rural poverty, it is crucial to promote sustainable land use, access to natural resources, and forest and fishery conservation in critical landscapes such as the Northern Plains. Although the human population is relatively low and scattered around the plains, the people depend heavily on the area’s natural resources for their livelihood. Threats to the Northern Plains include the expansion of commercial and subsistence agriculture, illegal logging, collection of the eggs and chicks of threatened bird species, land consolidation by powerful interests, the building of new roads, and professional and opportunistic wildlife hunting, such as trapping of long-tailed macaques for the captive breeding trade. In 2009, a particular challenge was the deployment of several thousand soldiers in the area, entailing the construction of new roads, bases and houses and the proposed creation of land concessions. The project uses the landscape-level approach, which is recognized as being more effective than approaches that focus on single sites for conserving large, wide-ranging species and large areas of forest.
- UNDP Thematic Area : Environment and Energy
Global Environment Facility:US$2,300,000
Wildlife Conservation Society:US$1,360,000
Wildlife Conservation Society
Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Forestry Administration); Ministry of Environment (Department of Nature Conservation and Protection)
More than 500,000 hectares of dry and evergreen forest and wetlands in the Northern Plains of Cambodia, covering much of northern Preah Vihear Province
Millennium Development Goal
Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
UNDP Country Programme
Outcome 2: National and local authorities, communities and private sector are better able to sustainably manage ecosystems goods and services and respond to climate change.
Output 1: Pro-poor, sustainable forest/protected area management and bio-energy productions accelerated.
Output 2: National readiness for reDD+ supported to enable government and communities to access financial incentives for reducing deforestation and forest degradation.
UNDP Thematic Area
Environment and Energy
UNDP Programme Officer
Mr Sovanny CHHUM, Programme Analyst
UNDP, No. 53, Street 51, Phnom Penh,
Tel: + 855 (0) 23 216 167
Wildlife Conservation Society
Mr Mark GATELY, Country Director
No. 21, Street 21, Tonle Bassac, Chamkamorn; P.O. Box 1620, Phnom Penh
Updated: December 2011