Project lists

Landscape approach to Sustainable management of forests in Prek Thnot Watersheds
25 Feb 2020     

Landscape approach to Sustainable management of forests in Prek Thnot Watersheds, Cambodia


Project title:   Landscape approach to Sustainable management of forests in Prek Thnot Watersheds   [project ID:  2015P1-KHM ]

Supervisory agency: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

Executing agency:   The Institute of Forest and Wildlife Research and Development

Budget in USD (total / APFNet grant): 573,015/499,215

Kick-off date & duration: January 2015, 01/2015-12/2017, extended to 06/2019

Target economy: Cambodia

Site Location: Prek Thnot Watershed, Kampong Speu province


To build capacity and raise awareness on the concept of integrated watershed/landscape planning for central and local stakeholders through scientific assessments, analysis and participatory watershed/landscape planning processes;

To develop a watershed management plan of Prek Thnot watershed with participation of stake holders;

To share the experiences and lesson learned from the project to stakeholders.

Expected outputs:

Improved knowledge and awareness of the target stakeholders on the concept of integrated Watershed Planning and the development issues in Prek Thnot Watershed that affect the forest-dependent communities;

Watershed characterization report of Prek Thnot Watershed;

Integrated watershed landscape development plan for Prek Thnot Watershed developed;

Two demonstration sites on agroforestry system, contributing to soil and water conservation and livelihoods established;

Forest-based community enterprise supported;

Project success and experiences disseminated and policy briefs for the sustainable development of the Prek Thnot Watershed submitted to relevant authorities.


Institute of Forest and Wildlife Research : Dr. Sokh Heng ( )

APFNet: Pak Sngoun Pisey (; Sun Weina ( )




Maintaining good forest cover is crucial for the effective functioning of a watershed. The Prek Thnot watershed covers a total land area of 666,764 hectares, of which 77.8% are in Kampong Speu Province that partly or entirely encompasses 65 communes and 6 districts. Most of the forest cover in the watershed is found in the northwestern part, although a few patches of forests can still be found downstream in the southeastern part, which are highly urbanized residential areas. Rice 


producing areas that depend on the water from the tributaries of Prek Thnot are also located at the southeastern part of the watershed.


However, this area is facing the threat of ongoing deforestation in the uplands which increasingly puts the Prek Thnot area at a high risks of impairment of its watershed function. The loss of its function can lead to many negative environmental consequences including soil erosion, depletion of soil nutrients, sedimentation of reservoirs, decrease of water quality and flooding of low lying downstream areas, ultimately impacting a large number of people. Thus immediate and proper action is needed.


Started in July 2015, this APFNet project was designed and developed aiming to build capacity and raise awareness for the concept of integrated watershed planning for central and local stakeholders through scientific assessments, analysis and participatory land use planning at the landscape level and also to improve community livelihoods by promoting agroforestry and establishing community-based enterprises.  


Main topic: Integrated watershed management planning

After two years of implementation, the project achieved a great deal of results, especially in the development of a watershed management plan. This plan will provide a new approach to manage the watershed to maximize the benefits for each stakeholder, while at the same time protecting the ecological functioning of the watershed.


The watershed management plan was developed through a participatory approach by collecting the views of different stakeholders including: community management committees, CF members, the local FA, and local authorities. They were tasked to share their perception on important aspects of the management plan, criteria for land use in the watershed, and negative impacts of unsuitable land use during a consultation workshop conducted in 2016.  The outcomes of the workshop combined with the GIS data collected by an expert plus an assessment of the socioeconomic conditions of the community, as well as land use and farming practices of the area, have been analyzed to produce the land allocation map and watershed characterization.


The watershed characterization focuses on biophysical and socio economic conditions of Prek Thnot watershed.  In particular this includes the documentation of the existing land use and the creation of an environmental risk reduction plan within the watershed area. This characterization then provides the information basis on which the land allocation map is built. The land allocation map provides an optimization of various land use model options in the watershed, this means whether for example a given plot of land should be used for agriculture or harbor forests. Of course it does this considering societal goals on food security and poverty alleviation that are in alignment with key government goals. The map overall provides options for sustainable land use in the watershed that will be integrated to develop a watershed management plan. This draft is then put forward during a stakeholder consultation in the four districts.


The watershed management plan is expected to be adopted by stakeholders, especially by relevant provincial departments and to be a new showcase in Cambodia in terms of landscape land use planning. Moreover, it can be used to streamline the formation of the Commune Land Use Planning and provide a guide for the prioritization of future development programs of NGOs and development partners in Prek Thnot watershed.



Sub topic: Agroforestry as a tool for soil and water conservation


Increasing the income of CF members is among the main objectives of the project. As such, the project engaged CF members to implement agroforestry to increase their income, improve land conditions and also collect data for future analysis of soil erosion from agricultural land. The project started with a capacity building training for 10 farmers on agroforestry and hydrology monitoring, in particular soil and water conservation on agricultural land.


Then, together with project team, the local FA identified farmers who are interested in piloting agroforestry trials on their private farmland. As a result, 4 plots were established on farmers’ land using high value timber species such as Dalbergia cochinchinensis, Diterocarpus alatus, Hopea ordorata and inter-planted with annual agriculture crops and perennial fruit tree species such as sour-sop, jack fruit, mango, and moringa. All four sites had rain collectors and soil collecting troughs to collect the rainfall and soil erosion data for further analysis installed. After the trials had been installed, the farmers stated that their practice has gradually changed comparing to before, stating “the crops that we have planted on the agroforestry plots including pineapple, corn, lemon grass, jack fruit, mango, sour soap, etc. have grown well and we can see that soil has gradually changed from white (sandy) to black” said Mr. Soung Van, Domrey Chakthlork Community Forestry and a model agroforestry farmer of the project.