The establishment of a high value tree species breeding centre in Cambodia will support efforts in conserving and developing the genetic resources of rare and endangered tree species in Cambodia .Supported by APFNet, this new project will also enhance the capacity of Cambodian foresters and promote sustainable economic development in rural areas. The centre will serve as an ex-situ seedbank of endangered plant resources in Cambodia.
The project goals, objectives and work plan were presented by Sreng Syneath from Cambodia’s Forest Administration at an inception meeting, held virtually on 4 June 2021. Organized by the Institute of Forest and Wildlife Research and Development (IRD), the meeting was opened by Dr. Lu De, Executive Director of APFNet; Zhong Mingchuan, President, Yunnan Academy of Forestry and Grassland; and Chan Ponika, Deputy Director General, Forest Administration. Dr. Zhang Jinfeng from Yunnan Academy of Forestry and Grassland shared lessons learned from forest restoration and genetic conservation in China.
APFNet staff at the virtual inception meeting. Photo credit: Zhi Li
The project was first agreed in January 2018, when a cooperation framework agreement was signed between the previous director of the State Forestry Administration of the People’s Republic of China, Zhang Jianlong, and the Cambodian Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Veng Sakhon, under the witness of the Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, Li Keqiang, and the Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen.
With a total budget of USD 6,860,904 (APFNet contribution USD 5,492,584), the eight-year project has multiple components. A high value tree species breeding centre will be constructed on the IRD campus in Phnom Penh. Facilities will include a tissue culture and diagnostic laboratory and greenhouses. A 100-ha forest genetic resource conservation garden of valuable trees and a 20-ha eco-forest farm will also be established in the Siem Reap IRD research station.
The project will train Cambodian forestry officials, researchers, students and local communities on the conservation of forest genetic resources and forest restoration to promote sustainable economic development in rural areas.
Finally, project experiences and lessons learned will be shared in technical manuals, posters, videos and research papers on valuable tree species germplasm, effective propagation and plantations. A book Major Indigenous Valuable Timber Tree Species will be published in Chinese, English and Khmer.
In 2021, the project team will focus on construction of the breeding centre, collection of valuable tree germplasm resources and design of the forest conservation garden and eco-forest farm.
Collecting valuable timber species. Photo: IRD