20 December 2018, APFNet in collaboration with the Experimental Center of Tropical Forestry (ECTF) of Chinese Academy of Forestry, and the Institute of Forest and Wildlife Research and Development (IRD) of the Forestry Administration, Cambodia launched a project on “Reconstruction and sustainable management of degraded forest based on the combination of inter-planting nitrogen fixation rare tree species and thinning” in Siem Reap Province. This is the fourth project of APFNet funding to Cambodia aiming to restore degraded community forests (CFs) in this economy.
Since most of the CFs are often labelled as degraded and are covered with unfertile soil, low in soil organic carbon and poor water holding capacity, effective methodologies to restore those forests and improve soil quality are highly needed. The previous projects have tested several different restoration models which include enrichment planting, agroforestry, assisted natural regeneration, and general silviculture techniques in Siem Reap, Kampong Thom, and Kampong Speu provinces. These models have proven to gradually restore the ecological functions of forests, increase biodiversity and improve local livelihoods.
Figure 1: About 50 Participants from the FA, ECTF, local authorities, local communities, NGO and other stakeholders attended the inception workshop.
Building on previous project models, another new and different approach will be adopted in this project. Degraded forests will be classified into severely, moderately, and slightly degraded and different approaches will be tailored to each category. The overarching principle is to practice close-to-nature forest management through group inter-planting in forest gaps with rare tree species that have a nitrogen fixation ability.
“This project was built upon the achievements of the previous project, Multi-function forest restoration and management of degraded forest areas which was completed in 2015. It not only restored forests and increased forest cover in Cambodia, but also greatly improved local livelihood and their capacity to co-manage forest resources. Mr. Sea Ra, the Deputy Director General of the Forestry Administration said in his opening remarks.
With the witness of Mr. Sea Ra and the director of Siem Reap Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the project agreement was signed by Dr. Zhang Zhong Tian, the AED of APFNet, Dr. Sokh Heng, the director of IRD and Prof. Cai Daoxiong, the director of ECTF.
Figure 2: The signing ceremony among ECTF, APFNet, and IRD (from left to right)
The day after the inception workshop, the participants visited the Bos Thom community forest in Siem Reap and had face-to-face discussion with participating communities on their perceptions of and expectations from this project.