In 1998, the areas were previously granted a forest concession to PT Maharani Infiniti who was then transfer this concession rights to Yorisakor forest Concession Company. A total of 214,000 ha of forestland in Pursat and Battambang provinces was under this Forest Concessions. Forest Concession has been suspended by the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) in 2001 following the nationwide campaign based on forestry sector reform and best effort of RGC that required the Forest Concessionaires to prepare the forest strategic management plan and the report of environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) in order to meet with the high standard for sustainable forest management. However, following forest concession suspension unauthorized forest logging still continue with difference forms. The clearance of forest areas for agricultural use in Samrong commune is the major cause of forest deforestation, according to commune land use planning of Samrong commune. The forest areas had been converted to agricultural use for large scale commercial production mainly for cassava and orange productions. The local and migrant encroachment causes the clearance of forest areas for agricultural expansion into the forest areas, especially outside of the PF areas. Other issues contributing to deforestation and forest degradation in the area including illegal logging, firewood and charcoal production by local community as well as migration who do not having access/own to agricultural land.
Witnessing the trend of ongoing increase deforestation in the commune and impact having on local communities, in 2005-2015 with support from PACT, RECOFTC and the Forestry Administration Cantonment (FAC), local communities and authorities have started the process to establish community forestry in the commune. As a result, 3 community forestry has been legalized. In 2012, the inter sectorial district land use team with the support from a UNDP/GEF SFM project to support the commune to formulate commune land use planning (CLUP). As a result, a total of an additional 7,005 ha of forest land is being request for the establishment of community forest (1,585 ha) and Partnership Forestry (5,420ha) following the modality of Partnership Forest. In 2015-2017, with the support from REDD+ FCPF-I the partnership forestry (PF) has been established and recognized by MAFF, PF Agreement and 15-year PF management plan have also been established and officially legalized with DoAFF, and PF Management Committee.
While these recent efforts have set out foundation and are conducive to the successful sustainable management and protection of the PF sites, there is an urgency to respond to eminent threats to deforestation of the PF and the remaining forest within the commune.
Target Project Site
The proposed project will be implemented in Samroang Partnership Forest (PF) is located in Samroang Commune, Kravanh district in Pursat Province, located in the western of Cambodia, approximately 180 km away from Phnom Penh and 50 km from Pursat city. This PF covers an area of approximately 5, 414 ha consisting of 2 villages, 1,016 HHs with total population of 4,268 (1,803 female). Majority of people of these two villages is Khmer, with only about 3.8% is Khmer Islam minority and 5.3 % is Poar Ethnic Minority. The commune and PF covered with different forest types, such as evergreen, semi-evergreen, deciduous forest and other forests. Local communities heavily rely on forest resources for their income and daily livelihood.
The overall objective of the project is to contribute to reduce forest loss and degradation through strengthening implementation of sustainable forest management while promoting environmentally sustainable livelihoods and protection of forest resources in Samoang Commune.
The objective fits into the National REDD+ Strategy (NRS) Strategic Objective SO2: Strengthen implementation of sustainable forest management plan that aims to contribute to national and global climate change mitigation through improving the management of its natural resources and forest lands, and biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.
The specific objective of the project is to support PF, local FA, and local authorities to establish community woodlot and reduce forest land encroachment through implementation of sustainable integrated agriculture and or agroforestry practice in Samroang PF. As part of the woodlot activities, the project will reforest 20 hectares of fast-growing trees that will ensure sustainable wood and NTFP production, reduction of forest fragmentation and improving forest ecosystem. In addition, the project will support 20 famers to pilot integrated agroforestry system incorporating the installation of biodigesters for environmental, social and economic benefits of the PF members. This will contribute to livelihood enhancement of the PF members through income generation from sale of wood, NTFP and agriculture product and thereby contributing to sustainable management of PF.
These activities are well in line with Cambodia Production Forest Strategic Plan 2018-2032. Cambodia Production Forest Strategic Plan 2018-2032 focus on supporting the implementation of NRS SO2 – Support the production of wood and NWFPs through reforestation, forest rehabilitation and planted forest management, action 14 (SO2.2) Plan and implement pilot projects in production forest areas focusing on the production of wood and NWFPs and strategic objective 3 (SO3): Promote the active participation of rural communities, action 20 (SO3.2) expand livelihood opportunities for local communities.
The proposed interventions add value and link to previous and current activities on sustainable charcoal production that are implemented in several target CFs in Pursat Province. Over the last few years, the work on sustainable charcoal production that has been introduced and implemented in Pursat covered in 5 CFs. In Samroang PF, the PF management plan was developed and included management blocks for forest rehabilitation and reforestation was identified as main management options for this forest rehabilitation blocks.
Full project document is here (PDF in En).