Saving Cambodia's Dry Forests | WWF

Saving Cambodia's Dry Forests

© WWF-Cambodia
© WWF-Cambodia/Nick Cox
Just 50 years ago, large herbivores like Banteng, Asian Elephant, and Eld’s Deer as well as predators like Indochinese tiger and leopard were so abundant in the Dry Forests of North and Northeast Cambodia that scientists compared this ecoregion to the savannas of East Africa. In the troubled decades that followed, however, habitat destruction and hunting greatly reduced animal numbers and diversity. Today, the largest intact dry forests in Indochina remain in north-eastern Cambodia in an area known as the Eastern Plains Landscape (EPL).

WWF-Cambodia works in two key protected areas in this landscape, Mondulkiri Protected Forest and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary. Even in these areas, animal numbers are critically low, especially of large herbivores and their predators. With its largely intact dry forest habitat, the area forms part of the tiger landscape with the highest potential for recovery in Asia. With increased protection effort, there are already many signs of improvement, particularly of leopard, and prey species such as banteng, deer, and wild pig. This leaves hope that, at some point in the future, wildlife in the EPL can be restored to its former glory.

Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) is a protected area of nearly 400,000 hectares (4,000km2) located in the Eastern Plains Landscape of Mondulkiri province, Cambodia. The area is considered an important representative sample of the Lower Mekong Dry Forest Ecoregion and was first designated Mondulkiri Protected Forest by The Royal Government of Cambodia in July 2002, before being renamed in 2016. It is managed by Cambodia’s Forest Administration, with technical support from WWF.

Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary contains many wildlife species characteristic of the Lower Mekong Dry Forest ecoregion within the Eastern Plains. This protected areas still holds the three wild cattle species banteng, gaur, and wild water buffalo. Deer species include the endangered Eld's deer, and wild pig are abundant, seen in groups of as many as 100 individuals. Cats are well-represented in the area including small numbers of tiger, an increasing number of leopard, relatively many jungle cat, and possibly a few clouded leopard and fishing cat. Other carnivores include Asiatic jackal and dhole, or Asian wild dog, as well as sun bears and several civet species. The forest also contains a rich diversity of primates including black-shanked douc and Germain's silver langur as well as pig-tailed and long-tailed macaque.

The trapeangs (watering holes) in SWS (and throughout the Eastern Plains) provide breeding habitats for threatened water birds including 
sarus crane, critically endangered giant and white-shouldered ibis as well as lesser and possibly greater adjutant. Three critically endangered vulture species, slender-billed, white-rumped, and red-headed vulture, maintain nesting populations in the protected area and are given periodic supplemental feedings of domestic cattle carcasses through a joint monitoring effort of WWF, WCS and BirdLife International. Other charismatic bird species observed in the area include great and oriental pied hornbills, green peafowl, silver pheasant, and great slaty woodpecker.

The critically endangered 
Siamese crocodile is present in small numbers in the Srepok River and its tributaries within the Wildlife Sanctuary. Turtles and tortoises are commonly confiscated from poachers collecting them for the wildlife trade, most often the endangered elongated tortoise. Water and Bengal monitors have also been sighted and confiscated from collectors. Snakes that have been observed include king cobra and Burmese python. Large individuals of several fish species are still caught in the Srepok River including rare species like seven-striped barb or giant carp. Freshwater sting raysmay also be present. An Irrawaddy dolphin was last seen in the upper Srepok in 2005.

Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary (PPWS), roughly 225,000ha (2,225km2) in size, is another critically important protected area in the Eastern Plains in which WWF is supporting government conservation efforts. PPWS was established in 1993 by Royal Decree although former King Sihanouk had already designated Phnom Prich a forest reserve in 1962, originally as a refuge for the now extinct Kouprey.

Today, Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary covers 2,225 square kilometres – more than 15% of the total area of Mondulkiri province – and forms part of one of the largest remaining relatively undisturbed landscapes in mainland Southeast Asia. PPWS is notable for its rich habitat diversity, ranging from hilly evergreen forest to open dry dipterocarp woodland and seasonally wet grasslands.

The wildlife sanctuary hosts the core area for the largest 
Asian elephant herd in eastern Cambodia. Recent camera trapping shows that there is good recruitment with many calves seen in photographs. Wildlife also includes the mega-herbivores banteng and gaur as well as populations of the endangered Eld’s deer. These and other herbivores form the prey base for an unknown number of Indochinese tigerpresent in the sanctuary, and a survey is underway to estimate tiger population size more accurately. Other key carnivores include leopardand clouded leopard, as well as marbled cat, jungle cat, and dhole. Phnom Prich is one of the last global strongholds for the endangered green peafowl, and the elusive white-winged duck has also been spotted inside the protected area.

This wealth of ecosystems is due to the sanctuary’s very diverse elevational structure varying between 80 to 640metres that has created a rich, intricate mosaic of forest habitats: About 50% of Phnom Prich’s forests are dry dipterocarp with an additional 40% semi-evergreen and 10% evergreen forest. These open forest mosaics support globally significant populations of animals characteristic of both dry and dense forest ecosystems, particularly large mammals and waterbirds, many of which have been extirpated from most other parts of Southeast Asia.

The Lower Mekong Dry Forest Ecoregion is characterized by a mosaic of habitats. The main forest type is deciduous dipterocarp forest. On higher quality soils or at higher elevation, areas of mixed deciduous forest and semi-evergreen forest occur. This mosaic of forest types is one of the reasons why such a large quantity and diversity of species are home to this landscape – the diverse forest patches act as key resource areas and refugia for a lot of wildlife.
Deciduous dipterocarp forests typically have an open canopy combined with a grassy understorey. Members of the forest’s namesake family Dipterocarpaceae dominate the vegetation. While all other Dipterocarp-trees are evergreen, the six species in the dry forest are the only ones that lose their leaves during the dryer months of November to April. This is likely to be an adaptation to the region’s climate with its strong, extended wet and dry seasons – shedding the leaves decreases the trees’ surface area and reduces the amount of water that the trees lose due to transpiration.

Semi-evergreen forests have a taller and more multilayered forest structure than deciduous dipterocarp forests. While such forests are similar in structure to lowland evergreen rain forest, they grow in areas with lower and more seasonal rainfall and are characterized by lower species diversity. Bamboos are common in the semi-evergreen forests of Cambodia’s Eastern Plains Landscape, especially along seasonal waterways and after disturbance. Within the Dry Forests Ecoregion, semi-evergreen forest patches are essential in providing shelter to large mammals and key resources to many species.

Interspersed within these forests are seasonally inundated wetlands; natural clearings that provide sources of food and water for a wide variety of wildlife, especially during the latter stages of the dry season. These wetlands, along with scattered permanent pools along seasonal river beds, form a crucial resource network throughout the Dry Forests ecoregion, especially in the Eastern Plains and help to maintain many of its ecological processes.

In partnership with the government and other NGOs, WWF has developed the Dry Forest Ecoregion Action Programme. At the landscape scale, this programme addresses a broad range of threats to the Dry Forests such as conversion for agriculture, illegal wildlife trade, land encroachment, and infrastructure development. At more local scales, such an approach also has positive impacts for conservation projects at the site level.
The Lower Mekong Dry Forests Ecoregion Action Programme aims to ensure that:
  • Priority species are preserved in viable populations throughout the landscapes,
  • A representative and viable sample of all broad habitat units is conserved as well as the ecological and evolutionary processes driving natural communities,
  • Natural resources support socio-economic development, and appropriate development ensures the conservation of biodiversity,
  • Efforts to protect and conserve the Dry Forests landscapes are socially, financially, and politically sustainable.

More than 25,000 people live in the eight communes surrounding Mondulkiri Protected Forest and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary – about 30% of the total population of Mondulkiri province. These communities are comprised of eleven ethnic groups, the indigenous Bunong, Khmer, and Lao being the three largest. 
The area was largely depopulated during the Khmer Rouge period and in the time that followed. Many families did not return to their villages until the late 1990s. Today, population size within the protected area’s community zones is increasing by about 800 people each year. This trend is likely to continue due to natural population increase and continuing immigration.

Access to basic social services is relatively low as a result of inadequate facilities and poor service quality. Streams and rivers are the primary source of domestic water supply, with a limited number of hand-pumped tube wells in some communities. There are primary schools in all villages, but the number of classrooms and teachers is insufficient in more remote areas. Literacy rates are low throughout the area.

Improving community livelihoods in and around protected areas in an important objective in WWF's work in Cambodia. As part of its community work, WWF-Cambodia gives technical support to community fisheries groups and encourages sustainable collection of non-timber forest products like resin or honey.

There is increasing pressure on the natural resources from residents and migrants living in and around the area. Loss of forest cover and encroachment on previously uninhabited forest, combined with several years of national and regional turmoil, has resulted in serious threats to fauna and flora.
The specific threats to biodiversity and habitat integrity are large and very diverse:
  • Hunting for local consumption and poaching for domestic and international wildlife trade is the greatest immediate threat to wildlife in the dry forests. Human-wildlife conflicts are also expected to increase in the future.
  • Illegal logging of high value "luxury" timber threatens to degrade patches of semi-evergreen forest that form critical habitats for wild cattle and elephants.
  • Population growth puts pressure on natural resources, especially as the road network improves and the needs of people exceeds the amount of land available for wet rice production.
  • Mining for gold and bauxite puts the future integrity of forests and river systems at risk, especially with exploration concessions also awarded within protected area boundaries. Mining leads to chemical and sediment pollution, increased demand for wildlife and timber, increased clearing of land, as well as spread of diseases from introduced domestic animals.
  • Ambitious plans for upstream hydropower development on the Srepok River threaten the entire Srepok ecosystem because of changes to the river’s flow regime, possible pollution, and barriers to fish migration and reproduction, as well as habitat destruction via roads, forest clearance, and flooding.
  • Fishing in the Srepok River and its tributaries has apparently exceeded sustainable levels as fishermen have noted a significant decline in fish catches in the past few years. If this trend continues, local fish population will be heavily affected.
  • Tapping of liquid resin is a traditional practice of local people but carries collateral risks due to opportunistic hunting by collectors, diseases spread by domestic ox and dogs, as well as disturbance due to fire.
  • Introduced plant species may displace native plant communities while providing little value for wildlife. Several such alien species have already become established in protected areas, and numbers are likely to rise with increasing human disturbance.
  • Climate change models predict more pronounced dry seasons that could change the dry forest mosaic of the Eastern Plains in unforeseen ways, possibly reducing the proportion of semi-evergreen forest and likely also changing the fire regime.
  • Concessions to commercial agriculture threaten to seriously disrupt the wildlife corridors between protected areas. Long-term connectivity between the region’s protected areas, including between Cambodia and Vietnam, is essential for the long-term protection of the Eastern Plains Landscape.

In Mondulkiri Protected Forest and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary, WWF and its partners are using an approach that has been successfully implemented in Southern Africa. ‘Wildlife Conservation by Sustainable Use’ demonstrates how wildlife conservation can contribute to economic development.
As a key first step, the area has been divided into four zones, each with a different purpose related to wildlife protection and sustainable use of wildlife and other natural resources:
  • The strict protection zone acts to conserve wildlife populations and all hunting and logging is prohibited.
  • The community use zone provides land for established communities to graze cattle, grow subsistence crops, and collect non-timber forest products.
  • The regulated use zone acts as a buffer between the first two zones and as a corridor for animal movements within and between protected areas.
Finally, the ecotourism zone is set aside for development of tourism infrastructure and ecotourism activities.

Lessons from Southern Africa have also provided useful tools for engaging local communities in direct monitoring of biodiversity and natural resources through MOMS (Management-Oriented Monitoring System).  

MOMS is an approach developed in Namibia that has proved extremely successful in allowing communities to organize themselves and take responsibility for managing their natural resources, in return for the right to harvest wildlife and other forest resources. WWF and government partners have adapted this approach and gradually introduced it to the Eastern Plains.

Keys On Going Projects On Supporting the Landscape

EU-ACCESS

Advancing CSOs' Capacity to Enhance Sustainability Solutions in the Eastern Plains Landscape of Cambodia

EASTERN PLAINS LANDSCAPE Covers 30,000km2 One of WWF’s 36 priority areas for global biodiversity Covers 4 provinces: Ratanakiri, Mondulkiri, Kratie, Stung Treng Two Protected Areas supported by WWF: Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary (363,177ha), Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary (222,500ha)

Background

The Eastern Plains Landscape (EPL) is part of the Lower Mekong Dry Forest - the largest intact block of dry forest in Southeast Asia. Making up as the core of the Eastern Plains, Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary (PPWS)  harbor a large diversity of habitats ranging from evergreen hills to open dry forest. The landscape is home to populations of many endangered species including Asian Elephant, Banteng, Siamese Crocodile, and Eld’s deer as well as several endangered large waterbirds and vultures. Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary has also been recognized as a key tiger recovery area in the region.
Being sparsely populated, the area offers a unique opportunity to secure the biodiversity of EPL at a large scale. At the same time, the forests and it’s rich biodiversity are under tremendous pressure from commercial clear-felling, agricultural expansion and illegal trade in luxury wood and wildlife. Strategic and coordinated actions that enable local communities to take part and make decisions are necessary to ensure sustainable benefits of the protected areas and their resources.

The Project

The project funded by the European Union, will be built on the Cambodian Government initiative to create specific status of “Community Protected Area (CPA)" where communities living inside protected areas are legally entitled to sustainably manage a defined and zoned area of their surrounding forest, just as they had sustainably done in an informal manner for generations.

In as much as their operationalization at local level and their official recognition at national level entail long administrative and costly processes, CPAs are not yet fulfilling their potential as CSOs. The mission of applicants and co-applicants’ (WWF, ADG, MVi, and CLEC)  support the CPAs in this process leading to their recognition, empowerment, access to rights and move to improved environmental, social and economic pathway. The duration of the project is five years.

To succeed, the approach requires a strong partnership among applicants and a trustful relationship with the targeted communities. To be common and comprehensive, the approach requires the integration of the various and different preoccupations of women. WWF and the co-applicants will use their experience and innovation capacities in the following key methods underpinning the Action as on support to the legalization of the CPAs, gender approach, strengthening CPA organizations, pilot digital warning system and the establishment of joint patrolling within forest corridors between CPAs.

Project Activities

  • Improve organizational and management capacities of 18 CPA’s with greater engagement of women to fulfill decision making roles in CPA management committees. This includes providing assistance for the development of inclusive internal regulations to promote female participation in membership and decision making processes through their increased representation in CPA management committees which is currently under 10%; participatory skills and capacity trainings will support the organizational and social development of CPAs in institutionalization, internal and external communication, coordination and networking.

  • Improve CPAs members and representatives capacities and skills to contribute to policy dialogue and to implement local actions for the protection and conservation of forests. This includes 1) facilitate exchange and learning, and raise awareness on legal rights and environmental laws; 2) locally reinforce the application of laws and regulations and implement their management plans (land-use sign board demarcation, forest patrolling etc.; and 3) co-organize local events and advocacy actions. Provincial alliances, platforms, and consortiums will be facilitated to involve CPAs, other CSOs and the private sector in strengthening public support services and improving natural resource management and CPA right at the provincial level.

  • Engages CPAs in national policy dialogue and action for the protection and conservation of forests with law makers, relevant authorities and private sector. This includes establishes system at national level in which influence can be exerted on the relevant public agencies and other involved stakeholders. Two approaches are to be implemented:

    • An issue-based approach that builds on the needs and initiatives from the Outcome 2 local linkages with the intention of removing obstacles and to improve specific regulatory framework conditions (advice, report, legal studies, monitoring, networking, discussions with government, participation in events);

    • Another more comprehensive approach is to set-up and use formal mechanisms to address broader forest conservation issues, such as participation in forest sector working groups, the annual Natural Resources Management Forum (NRM Forum) chaired by the Prime Minister of Cambodia, and the quarterly NRM forum attended by all ministries.

       

PROJECT BENEFICIARIES

1/ Local Community: around 2,000 households from 18 CBOs in Mondulkiri Province will have benefit from the project; 2/ NGOs: local NGO’s will get support to improve their institutional capacity and supporting service to communities. They will be playing a role to link communities and decision makers; 3/ Sub-national and national government: government agencies at provincial and national level will get support to improve their governance and PA management.

© European Union

This project is funded by the European Union.


*** Disclaimer: this webpage was created and maintained with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of WWF-Cambodia and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

DARWIN INITIATIVE

Safeguarding a critical biodiversity conservation corridor in Cambodia's Eastern Plains Landscape

Background

Cambodia’s Eastern Plains Landscape (EPL) covers 28,000 km2 and hosts a network of six Protected Areas (PA) forming the largest remaining intact block of dry forest and one of the last biodiversity hotspots in Southeast Asia. The EPL is recognized as one of the 200 globally most valuable biodiversity ecoregions by WWF and other conservation organizations. This Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) has been experiencing rapid deforestation and is increasingly threatened by anthropogenic drivers including systemic poverty, unclear land rights, non- participatory land-use planning and weak governance.
 
In the core area of the EPL, Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary (PPWS) cover almost 6,000 km2, providing agriculture and NTFP-based subsistence livelihoods to 30,000 individuals including 8,000 indigenous people. This mosaic forest landscape hosts populations of endangered and critically endangered species including Asian elephant, leopard, dhole, banteng, Siamese crocodile, Eld’s deer, Giant ibis and three species of vultures.
 
The ecological integrity of the PPWS/SWS complex is threatened by loss of connectivity between the core zones of the two Protected Areas, affecting globally threatened species of wildlife and the livelihoods of local communities relying on the forest.
 
The target area of the project is the last potential wildlife corridor between these two core zones. Although it connects the core zones of the two Protected Areas, the wildlife corridor entirely legally sits within the SWS boundaries, covers approximately 250 km2, and is home to eight communities totaling 3,500 people (including 50% indigenous people). Loss of connectivity happens mainly through illegal forest clearing by communities for agricultural purposes and in the absence of an enforced SWS management plan. Forest encroachment drives potential human-wildlife conflicts and the loss of forest ecosystem services such as NTFPs, water provision and climate regulation on which the communities depend.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

This project will ensure that the biodiversity corridor connecting the core zones of Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary (PPWS) and Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) is maintained, by improving the livelihoods of vulnerable forest communities through sustainable and forest-friendly agricultural practices and by achieving legal protection of biodiversity corridors at national and provincial levels.

Project Information

© WWF-Cambodia

Contribution to Tx2

 

This project comes under the framework of the “Tx2” goal to globally double the number of wild tigers between 2010 and 2022, a commitment pledged by the thirteen tiger-range countries including Cambodia. Tigers are considered functionally extinct in Cambodia, with natural recovery impossible. This project is the first in Cambodia to seek official support for a critical biodiversity conservation corridor, within a global first initiative of reintroducing tigers in SWS by 2022, led by the Cambodian Government and technically and financially supported by WWF since 2010.
 
Cambodia’s contribution under “Tx2” will need to overcome many challenges to re-create the necessary biological, economic and social conditions enabling the reintroduction of a functional population of tigers in a landscape where they have been poached to extinction. A breeding tiger population in SWS will be the ultimate indicator of a thriving and sustainable ecosystem benefiting wildlife and people, which is the WWF’s 2030 vision for Cambodia.

STRATEGIC APPROACH

SWS has been selected by the Cambodian government as the most suitable site countrywide for the reintroduction of tigers in Cambodia. Thus this project would provide critical contribution to this global first. However a well maintained connected habitat supported by local communities, civil society and authorities is a prerequisite. The activities and project area selected for this project are critical to contribute to the 2030 vision in that they address three key pillars for biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation which replication will show impact at scale. This project will foster a 3-pronged strategic approach.

Current levels and community perception of human-wildlife conflict (HWC) across PPWS and SWS will be assessed through the conduction of household interviews with a focus on communities living inside the biodiversity corridor.

WWF-Cambodia will map HWC hotspots across the 2 Protected Areas, providing decision-makers with unique and valuable information on priority areas for HWC mitigation and consideration during the development of the SWS management plan. Communities will also be provided with equipment to improve their agricultural and livelihood practices in a wildlife friendly way, mitigating the risk of HWC.

HWC will be further mitigated and prevented when scientific understanding of wildlife movements, especially Asian elephant herds’ movements, in the PPWS/SWS biodiversity corridor will be improved and documented in collaboration with elephant and HWC experts and vets from the Ministry of Environment (MoE) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF). Distribution and if possible home ranges will be mapped and disseminated to government and local communities to ensure that elephant movement routes are conserved, thus attempting to prevent future human-elephant conflict. 

There will be meetings with government partners and relevant stakeholders to identify in-country personnel to be trained to collar elephants in order to better understand the movement of the elephants within the biodiversity corridor in PPWS/SWS complex.

 

A “Commune Agro-Ecosystems Analysis” (CAEA) methodology incorporating sustainable livelihoods framework (SLF) principles will propose an appropriate agricultural extension program based on farmers’ key issues and opportunities.

As part of the CAEA, a Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) will provide information on wealth ranking, land tenure, gender-based task-sharing, income source (NTFP/Agriculture) through participatory discussions with male and female representatives from eight communities.

Based on the RRA, HWC perception study, crop analysis and market viability assessment, recommendations and training for improving productivity and adopting better technics for crops and husbandry (crop rotation, wet/dry season-based cultivation, improved irrigation, poultry farming, non- wildlife-attracting crops...) will be provided to farmers with the support of the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture (CEDAC) and the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).

Conservation-based agriculture models will be introduced to communities living in the PPWS/SWS biodiversity complex. Community members, especially the most vulnerable woman-led households, in the eight communities will be trained on sustainable agricultural techniques (crop and seed selection, crop rotation, irrigation, fertilizer, and HWC mitigation tools) along with practical guidelines and facilitated study tour to conservation-based agriculture sites.

 



 

MoE and the eight local communities from Pou Chrey and Dei Ey Communes located inside the biodiversity corridor will collaborate through joint consultation workshops aiming at reviewing and endorsing the official five-year SWS management plan.

The plan will specify the importance of the biodiversity corridor connecting the core zones of SWS and PPWS and the role of the eight communities in its protection. A zoning process will assess biological and sociological data to define purpose areas inside SWS: 1) strictly protected core zones, 2) restricted-access to conservation zones, 3) sustainably used zones and 4) community zones.

The PPWS/SWS corridor recognition will contribute to the Environmental Code (EC), an upcoming new national legislation which will address policy gaps and overlapping structures and responsibilities in the current environmental governance. WWF-Cambodia is currently one of the key contributors to the drafting of the EC, providing input and engaging with the government. In this context, the project will demonstrate the role of biodiversity conservation corridors, which will lead to formalizing their protection at national level by nesting them in the Environmental Code.
 

WWF-Cambodia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment (MoE) and relevant partners, will work to revise SWS management plan by providing evidence-based documentation about the role of the corridor within PPWS/SWS complex to MoE, while regularly meet with MoE to ensure that “Biodiversity Conservation Corridor” remain in the Cambodia Environmental Code (EC) and to advocate on the incorporation of the PPWS/SWS corridor into the National Corridor Map.

 

DIRECT BENEFICIARIES

  • 150 farming households (including 20 of the most vulnerable women-led farming households) in eight forest-dependent communities who implement the conservation-based agriculture.

INDIRECT BENEFICIARIES

  • 150 farming households (including 20 of the most vulnerable women-led farming households) in eight forest-dependent communities who implement the conservation-based agriculture.

Project Partners

WWF-Cambodia will collaborate with CEDAC to build the capacity of relevant DAFF staff, as well as of eight farming households’ group leaders in monitoring and evaluating the conservation-based agriculture solutions proposed within this project.

WWF-Cambodia also partners with other international NGOs including Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Conservation International (CI), Birdlife International (BI), NTFP-EP and RECOFTC through joint programs addressing the threats to EPL’s ecological integrity and to support the wider vision of conserving the landscape for wildlife and humans to live in harmony.

Without corridors, forest areas become fragmented, species disappear and natural processes break down, affecting ecosystems and forest communities who rely on them. This project aims to enhance livelihood for forest communities and improve the protection of the biodiversity corridor.

Short-term changes:

  • Scientific research on movements of elephants in biodiversity corridors will provide new information to support the government’s conservation and social development efforts.
  • Livelihoods of target communities will be enhanced through innovative agricultural models such as crop selection and rotation, irrigation technics, natural fertilizer and pest killer, fire breaks, HWC mitigation tools.
  • The SWS management plan will recognize the role of a biodiversity conservation corridor in alignment with the appropriate legislation to maintain connectivity between the two Protected Areas.

Long-term changes:

  • Viable populations of threatened species are maintained including Asian elephant and Indochinese leopard currently at risk of becoming critically endangered.
  • Reduction in deforestation, human-wildlife conflicts and their associated impact on ecosystem services (water provision, climate regulation, NTFPs) on which communities rely.
  • The importance of conservation corridors will be formalized in the new Environmental Code of Cambodia, paving way for upscaling and applying the new governance model of preserving corridors throughout the country’s Protected Areas where such corridors have been identified, thus ensuring a sustainable network of connected Protected Areas and contributing to the conservation of key endangered species and to the ecological integrity of mosaic landscapes.

USAID Wildlife Sanctuary Support Program

© USAID

The USAID Wildlife Sanctuary Support Program seeks to conserve forests and biodiversity, and promote inclusive, sustainable management of the Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) and Phnom  Prich Wildlife Sanctuary (PPWS) and their extended landscapes in Cambodia’s Eastern Plains Landscape (EPL).

Objectives

This  Project   embodies a   three-pronged approach:  (1) improving the conservation   of biodiversity in the PPWS and SWS PAs  and biological corridors through improved law enforcement  and natural resource management capacities of government officials; (2) decreasing   pressure on natural resources in the landscape by promoting sustainable livelihoods   among local communities; and (3) strengthening inclusive and effective landscape governance.

Wildlife Sanctuary Support Program Results Framework

Overall Goal: To conserve forests and biodiversity, and promote inclusive, sustainable management of the Srepok and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuaries and their extended landscapes

Specific Objectives: 
OBJ 1: Improved biodiversity conservation and ecosystem health in SWS/PPWS & extended landscape
OBJ 2: Increased sustainable economic opportunities and natural capital reinvestment
OBJ 3: Strengthened inclusive and effective extended landscape governance

Result
Result 1.1: PPWS and SWS populations of flagship species remain stable or are increasing in comparison to the 2016 estimates
Result 1.2: Improved management & enforcement systems in SWS/PPWS and the extended landscape
Result 2.1:  Increased economic opportunities for target farming households in PPWS &SWS, and enhancement of the role of women in responsible agricultural practices
Result 2.2: Increased environmental awareness for forest stewardship among target “land title” and CPA communities in PPWS and SWS
Result 3.1: Economic development decisions in Mondulkiri Province (covering most of the PPWS/SWS extended landscape) based on an inclusive Provincial Spatial Plan balancing economic, social, and environmental sustainability