Forest degradation in Cambodia: An assessment of monitoring options in the Central Cardamom protected forest



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Techniques for monitoring deforestation and associated changes to forest carbon stocks are widespread and well‐published. In contrast ,techniques for monitoring forest degradation are relatively untested in developing countries, despite the inclusion of degradation in UNFCCC REDD+ negotiations. The lack of a definition of forest degradation and the broad variety of forest management objectives furthercomplicate forest degradation monitoring. The Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests(LEAF) program of the United States Agency for International Development/Regional Development Mission for Asia (USAID/RDMA) is working to build institutional and technical capacity for monitoring changes in forest carbon stocks in the Asia‐Pacific region, including changes due to human‐caused forest degradation.

The United States Forest Service (USFS) was asked by LEAF and its partner organizations to assess options for monitoring forest degradation at sub‐national levels in three Mekong countries: Cambodia,Lao PDR, and Viet Nam. This assessment focuses on our assessment of the Central Cardamom Protected Forest (CCPF) in Cambodia, conducted in May 2012.The CCPF was established in 2002 under the jurisdiction of the Forestry Administration (FA) of the Cambodian government. It is jointly managed through a cooperative agreement between FA and Conservation International (CI). The CCPF occupies an area of 401,313 ha located in portions of Koh Kong, Pursat, and Kampong Speu provinces. It encompasses a large portion of the Cardamom Mountain range, and elevations vary from 200m to over 1700m. The natural vegetation consists predominantly of evergreen forests at higher elevations,semi‐evergreen forests a tlower elevations, and deciduous forests located in drier areas of the monsoonal rain shadow. Seven communes are located near the borders of CCPF; however, only the communes of O’Somand Tatai Lieu, with a combined population of approximately 1,600, are located inside the CCPF.