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EditPhoto Title:Cambodia’s Central Cardamoms Protected Forest
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EditImage Url:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_14779778.jpg
EditImage Description:Areng River, Cardamom Mountains, Cambodia
EditPhoto Credit:© Conservation International/photo by David Emmett
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Population growth, economic development, the potential for hydropower and mineral deposits have all put new pressures on a crucial Cambodian watershed.

This watershed, at the heart of the Cardamoms mountain range, is the Central Cardamoms Protected Forest (CCPF): a vital, 400,000-hectare (1 million-​​​​​​​acre) protected area. Mountain rivers in the CCPF provide drinking water for more than 30,000 people and support rice and fish production in the lowland agricultural plains.

The natural resources of the region — including endemic species like the Siamese crocodile, dragon fish, gibbon and pangolin — were protected for centuries due to the region’s isolation. But as Cambodia has modernized, the Cardamoms Mountains are increasingly vulnerable to illegal logging, hunting, forest clearing and land encroachment.


Our role

Created in 2002 by the Cambodian government with CI’s support, the CCPF is one of the largest protected areas in Asia and was the first of its kind in Cambodia’s history.

Cambodia’s forests are currently experiencing high rates of deforestation and degradation. When the forests are cleared for agricultural purposes, any benefit to the people is short-lived as the soil quickly becomes overburdened. And this loss of productive soil can have devastating downstream impacts, including extreme floods during the wet season, droughts in the dry season and reductions in the productivity of fisheries and farms. The food security of many of Cambodia’s poorest people is linked to these mountains, which ensure that rice fields and fishing grounds remain productive.

The CCPF is afforded a much higher degree of protection than other nearby areas, which has resulted in a lower deforestation rate. CI has factored the broader Cardamoms landscape into our forest protection plans, recognizing ​that conserving the forests outside the protected area is important to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The CCPF five-year management plan, produced by CI and the Cambodian government, created the legal framework needed for effective conservation of intact ecosystems and the safeguarding of species, resources and services over the long term.


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EditSection title:Our plan
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Edit Item Title:Reducing deforestation
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Edit Item Text:Over the past six years, the CCPF has the lowest deforestation rate (2%) of all the surrounding forests. But across Cambodia, around 1.6 million hectares (4 million acres) of land have been cleared over the past two years alone. The pressures of illegal logging and wildlife poaching are constant and increasing, which is why CI is working with communities, partners and government to ensure CCPF's continued protection.
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Edit Item Title:Protection
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Edit Item Text:The management plan for the CCPF was the first of its kind to be approved in Cambodia’s history and is the country’s longest standing conservation project. CI continues to support increased government capacity for effective long-term protected area management. CI also supports law enforcement improvements to deter illegal wildlife poaching and logging activities by providing technical and financial support to the rangers that patrol the CCPF.
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Edit Item Title:Research
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Edit Item Text:CI’s research has helped stakeholders better understand and quantify the value of the "natural capital" present in the CCPF — including biodiversity, climate change mitigation properties and fresh water — so the value of its conservation can be better understood and acted upon.
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Edit Item Title:Financing
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Edit Item Text:Recognizing that securing the globally outstanding conservation values of this vast protected area requires long-term financing, CI has committed to building a trust fund and endowment to cover core management costs indefinitely.
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Edit Item Title:Communities
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Edit Item Text:For over 10 years, CI has provided support to indigenous communities living in and around the CCPF and to the government agencies responsible for managing the protected area. This work includes community agreements that successfully link livelihood improvements to wildlife protection, ranger training and biological research and monitoring.
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Edit Item Title:Creating a ridge-to-reef conservation area
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Edit Item Text:CI is working to create a ridge-to-reef initiative that encompasses the CCPF watershed and its flows to the coast and to the Tonle Sap Lake.
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EditImage Alt Text:Indigenous children at a local school
EditTitle:By the numbers
EditSubtitle:2,700 people
EditText:With CI support, the CCPF Program engages around 2,700 people directly in conservation agreements, which improve livelihood options for local communities in exchange for wildlife protection and surveillance. There is also an increased level of community members reporting illegal activities such as logging and wildlife hunting.
EditPhoto Credit:© Conservation International/photo by Jake Brunner
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    EditSection Title:Community engagement
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      EditImage URL: /sitecollectionimages/ci_38269331.jpg
      EditImage Description: Mother and daughter at the Thma Bang health post., Cambodia.
      EditText: CI has conservation agreements with communities to protect natural ecosystems and halt destructive activities in return for incentives that support sustainable development. These incentives range from salaries for local teachers to improved farming equipment to health clinics. Financial mechanisms such as endowments and trusts allow for long-term support of these arrangements, and monitoring ensures that both conservation and socioeconomic results are achieved. Communities have reduced slash-and-burn agriculture, increased community participation in tree planting and agroforestry activities, and reported more illegal activities to government rangers.
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      EditPhoto Credit:© Conservation International/photo by Linda Yun
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      EditSection Title:Forest management
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        EditImage URL: /sitecollectionimages/ci_15899184.jpg
        EditImage Description: Central Cardamom Protected Forest, (CCPF), Cambodia
        EditText: We are dedicated to building a trust fund for the CCPF. Toward this goal, we have implemented a comprehensive management plan, hired a dedicated forest manager and continue to work closely with Cambodian Government Forestry Administration rangers and communities to implement this work. The CCPF project’s focus on conservation law enforcement and community engagement has cultivated an acceptance within the communities of the value of conserving and protecting forests.
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        EditPhoto Credit:© Conservation International
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        Edit Section Title:Species restoration
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          Edit YouTube Video ID: A7pYWv19GlA
          Edit Text: In 2012, CI’s Cambodian Pangolin Conservation Program opened the Pangolin Rehabilitation Center (PRC) near Phnom Penh. Also known as scaly anteaters, pangolins are covered with protective, overlapping scales and can quickly roll up into a tight ball when threatened. Very little research had been conducted on this species, but CI discovered that pangolins are now rare in many places where they previously were common, mainly due to hunting for the illegal wildlife trade. CI is working with the local communities in the CCPF to increase their awareness and understanding of pangolins and the protection laws that are in place to conserve them. We also work with rangers from the Cambodian Forestry Administration to make sure they clearly understand the laws and their role in protecting this species.
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          EditDefault Title:Pangolin Rehabilitation Center[Optional]
          EditYoutube Video Id:0glv26iLfM8
          EditVideo Description:Pangolins are amazing animals — very cool and strange, gentle and yet incredibly strong. The new Pangolin Rehabilitation Center (PRC) at Phnom Tamau Zoological Garden and Wildlife Rescue Center aims to release the animals back into the wild when their health has recovered.[Optional]
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            First Image

            EditTitle:Partnering with Communities
            EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_20109105.jpg
            EditLink:/how/pages/partnering-with-communities.aspx
            EditImage Alt Text:Women sell traditional crafts, Konashen Community-Owned Conservation Area in the Konashen Indigenous District, Southern Guyana. © Piotr Naskrecki

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            EditTitle:Forests
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            EditLink:/what/Pages/forests.aspx
            EditImage Alt Text:Clouds rise through Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, home to the endangered mountain gorilla. © Benjamin Drummond

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            EditTitle:Greater Mekong Region
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            EditLink:/where/Pages/Greater-Mekong-region.aspx
            EditImage Alt Text:Woman rows to a floating market in the Mekong region. © Amir Jina