On March 17th, 2015, a project completion workshop was held for the project: “Multi-functional forest restoration and management of degraded forests” in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The project was implemented by the Institute of Forest and Wildlife Research with supervision from the Forestry Administration of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Cambodia.
The workshop gathered a wide range of participants including project stakeholders and international experts who shared and discussed project achievements.
In Cambodia, approximately 400,000 hectares of natural forests have been placed under the management of local communities through the Community Forestry (CF) system. This 3-year project was implemented on select sites in the CFs of Tbeng Lech and O Soam in Siem Reap province and Kamong Tong province, respectively. The objectives were to pilot and demonstrate restoration techniques on degraded CFs for the production of timber and non-timber forest products, NTFPs as a means to improve local livelihoods of local community.
The project sites have since become well-known CF models amongst neighboring CF members, students at home and abroad, as well as foresters from local and international organizations.
In line with the planned outputs, the project was able to achieve the following:
Establishment of 2 community nurseries in Tbeng Lech CF and O Soam CF and production of more than 20,000 seedlings, enabling sustainable seedling sales and self-reliance of community members;
Restoration of 52 hectares of forestland with the enrichment of high-value timber species (such as Dipterocarpus alatus and Dalbergia cochinenisis) and priority species such as rattan, bamboo and fruit trees, as well as capacity building in restoration techniques and awareness raising on the importance of restoration;
Pilot study completed on assisted natural regeneration, growth and comparisons before and after project interventions; and
Preparation of a policy study and technical note on forest restoration in Cambodia based on research and field experience, for the purpose of knowledge sharing and promotion of policy recommendations.
During the workshop, Ms. Sorn Sopheap (head of the O Soam community) discussed the following benefits delivered by the project: increase in direct income from the collection of honey, wild fruit, mushrooms, wild spiders and fish; dramatic increase in knowledge and awareness on community-based forest restoration; and increased community participation in field activities to prevent illegal logging and encroachment.
Nursery site during construction (left) and following establishment (right) in the Tbeng Lech CF
Comparison of natural forests without thinning (left) and with thinning (right). Note the straighter and thicker tree trunks and greater foliage in the right photo.
Dr. Chheng Kimsun (Director General of the Cambodian Forest Administration) stressed the significance of the project in providing capacity improvements to community members in restoring degraded forests, improving forest restoration and moving towards the ultimate goal of increasing forest cover in Cambodia.