The Central Cardamom Protected Forest, a 402,000-hectare area in southwestern Cambodia's Central Cardamom Mountains, is the source of some of the country’s largest rivers and safeguards a vital watershed.
As part of the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot, it also conserves critical habitat for most of Cambodia's large mammal species, including the Asian elephant, Indochinese tiger and Malaysian sun bear.
In addition to the only known wild-breeding population of Critically Endangered Siamese crocodile, half of the country's reptiles, birds and amphibians depend on this habitat.
Covering an area that had been slated for logging, this protected forest now links two existing wildlife sanctuaries, Mt. Aural and Mt. Samkos. Collectively, they create a 1-million-hectare complex that is the largest, most pristine wilderness in mainland Southeast Asia.
The Global Conservation Fund (GCF) supports on-site surveillance and enforcement systems by Conservation International’s Cambodia Program to provide immediate protection for the area, which is under threat from illegal logging and hunting activities.
The program advises the Royal Government of Cambodia on protected area management, as well as training and patrolling. Past support from GCF helped catalyze the decision in 2002 by the government to declare the forest as protected.
GCF is also working with l’Agence Française de Développement and Fauna & Flora International to design a sustainable financing mechanism for the Central Cardamom Protected Forest.