8 community forestry case studies in Cambodia underway

AKP Phnom Penh, February 21, 2019 —

Eight case studies in selected provinces in the country are being conducted by a project that is funded by a grant from the ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry (AWG-SF) Strategic Response Fund (ASRF) managed by Philippines-based Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

“Community Forestry (CF) in Cambodia: A review of community forestry contribution to livelihoods after 25 years of development” is a project of Cambodia’s Department of Forest and Community Forest (DFCF) that received the SEARCA-ASRF grant in 2018, said SEARCA in a press release.

According to the same source, endorsed to the ASRF by the DFCF under the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) Forestry Administration, the project aims to review and assess the history of CF development in Cambodia and its impacts on local livelihoods. It is expected to produce key recommendations on community forestry best practices to ensure provision of benefits to local people and sustainable forest management.

The project is now conducting the following case studies: Resin-based CF in Stung Treng province, Ecotourism-based CF in Siem Reap, Credit-based CF in Kampong Thom, Charcoal-based CF in Pursat, Bat Manure-based CF in Battambang, Bamboo-based CF in Kampong Speu, Rattan-based CF in Kampot, and Wild Honey-based CF in Kratie.

During the visit of the SEARCA-ASRF project management team to the Siem Reap case study site on Jan. 17-19, 2019, Mr. Long Ratanakoma, AWG-SF Focal Point and Deputy Director of DFCF, presented the project accomplishments since it began in April 2018 and its remaining activities.

Mr. Ratanakoma commended the ASRF and SEARCA for the strong support to Cambodia. The current project is the fifth under the ASRF, which has been managed by SEARCA since 2014.

He said these projects contributed to building the capacity of forestry officers and to developing policies that support CF in Cambodia.

“It is also a good venue to link the local community at the grassroots to the sub-national level and on to the national level,” Mr. Ratanakoma said.

Moreover, he said Cambodia is in the process of reviewing its Forestry Law. He explained that the output of the current ASRF-funded project is expected to provide recommendations to policymakers on how to improve local livelihoods through community forestry.

CF or social forestry in Cambodia was first introduced in Takeo province in 1994. After 25 years of implementation, CF is recognised as a strategy that contributes to secure access to forest resources, if legally recognised, and provide forest products such as food, medicine, and grass fodder, among others, to participating members. Presently, however, economic benefits generated from CF sites are found to remain limited.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) provides funds for these projects through the SEARCA-ASRF programme.

By C. Nika