Cambodia has one of the highest levels of forest cover in Southeast Asia. The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) estimates Cambodia contains approximately 10.36 million hectares of forest cover representing approximately 57.07% of Cambodia’s land area (FA, 2011). Out of this 24.68% are deciduous forest, followed by 19.27% of evergreen forest and 7.02% semi-evergreen forest (ibid). About 69,000 ha (1%) of forest cover is planted forest. Overall Cambodia’s forests contain an estimated 464 million metric tonnes of carbon stock in living forest biomass (FAO, 2010). Approximately 40% of Cambodia’s Forests have some level of protection and one of the Cambodia Millennium Development Goals (MDG) targets is to achieve a 60% forest cover by 2015 (UN-REDD, 2011 and FA, 2011). According to the Forestry Administration statistics, a total of 380,000 hectares of forest were cleared between 2002 and 2005/2006, resulting in a deforestation rate of 0.5% per year (FA, 2010a). A further assessment in 2010 indicated that, despite measures taken to halt deforestation, total forest cover declined from 59 to 57% between 2006 and 2010, equivalent to 366,993 ha of the total land area (FA, 2011). As a consequence Cambodia has been classified as a ‘high forest cover, high deforestation’ country for the purposes of REDD+ (UN-REDD, 2011). The rate of deforestation and substitution planting of trees is not enough for Cambodia to meet its MDG target of 60% forest cover by 2015, and therefore the RGC have suggested converting 532,615 ha of non-forest land into tree plantations (FA, 2011). In terms of socio-economic indicators, forests play an important role for 85% of the population who live in rural areas (UN-REDD, 2011). Research has shown that approximately 41% of rural households in Cambodia derive between 20-50% of their total livelihood income from forest use, while 15% of households derive more than half of their total livelihoods from the forest (Hoev et. al. 2006).
HEOV, K.S., KHLOK, B., HANSEN, K. and C. SLOTH. 2006. The Value of Forest Resources to Rural Livelihoods in Cambodia. Cambodia Development Research Institute (CDRI) Policy Brief 2, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANISATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS. 2010. Global Forest Resource Assessment 2010: Global Tables [online]. Available:http://www.fao.org/forestry/fra/fra2010/en/ [Accessed December 3, 2012].
FORESTRY ADMINISTRATION (FA). 2010a. Cambodia Forest Outlook Study. Working Paper No. APFSOS II/ WP/ 2010/ 32. Bangkok: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. Available:http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/am627e/am627e00.pdf [Accessed December 3, 2010].
FORESTRY ADMINISTRATION (FA). 2010b. Cambodia Forestry Outlook Study. Forestry Administration, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Working Paper No. APFSOS II/WP/2010/32. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Regional Office Asia Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand. Available: http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/am627e/am627e00.pdf [Accessed December 3, 2012].
FORESTRY ADMINISTRATION. 2011. Cambodia Forest Cover Change 2006-2010. Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
UN-REDD. 2011. Cambodia National UN-REDD National Programme Document [online]. Available: http://www.unredd.net/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=7388&tmpl=component&format=raw&Itemid=53[Accessed December 3, 2012].