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Southern Cardamom REDD+ Project – Cambodia

Table of Contents:

  1. The Project Impact
  2. Southern Cardamom Watershed
  3. Southern Cardamom Community
  4. Southern Cardamom Wildlife

The Project Impact

The Southern Cardamom project covers 442,871 hectares of land, including parts of Southern Cardamom National Park, Tatai Wildlife Sanctuary and a critical part of the Cardamom Mountains Rainforest Ecoregion – one of the 200 most important locations for biodiversity conservation on the planet. The Southern Cardamom project also covers the Indo-Burma Hotspot, one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots, and an important watershed for the Gulf of Thailand. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has identified 52 species of threatened birds, mammals, and reptiles in his area. The project area also has one of Cambodia’s two viable Asian elephant populations and the Royal Government of Cambodia has identified region as a potential place for tiger reintroduction.

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The Southern Cardamom Watershed

The Southern Cardamom project also contains a watershed, which is important for the Gulf of Thailand fisheries. This area provides food for Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam and supports the climate regulation for the Southeast Asian peninsula. The Southern Cardamom project has 20 major waterways that feed 3,800 villages across 6 provinces. The Southern Cardamom project directly supports 21 villages in nine communes around the project area perimeter. Eight additional villages in 4 communes are eligible to receive educational scholarship. These communities represent approximately 3,957 families and 16,495 individuals.

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The Southern Cardamom Community

The Southern Cardamom region is one of most threatened forest landscapes in South East Asia. Rural communities depend on small-scale agricultural production to support their livelihood. A lack of sufficient employment opportunities for the growing rural population combined with a lack of knowledge regarding improved agricultural techniques drive the local population to clear forests for cultivating commercial crops. Due to these threats, Wildlife Alliance with the Ministry of Environment created the Southern Cardamom project.

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The Southern Cardamom Wildlife

Wildlife Alliance has been assisting the Cambodian government in managing the Cardamom Rainforest Landscape since 2002. In addition to patrols protecting the forest and technical assistance in implementing forest protection, Wildlife Alliance has undertaken community development and education programs, to help local people switch to livelihoods that are compatible with the sustainable use of the region’s natural resources. Going forward, the project will intensify patrolling and provide additional opportunities to the communities to mitigate deforestation drivers.

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Two important project foci are agricultural intensification and community-based ecotourism to help create greater community financial security to alleviate the need to perform unsustainable resource extraction. A fund will also be provided to support scholarships for children from project communities to directly address one of the critical drivers of deforestation identified during stakeholder workshops (i.e., low education rates and limited opportunities for post-primary school education). This fund will be available for community members from an additional 8 villages in four communes in addition to those directly benefiting from the project.