By Mengey Eng
| February 21, 2018
Preah Vihear (February 22, 2018) – Preah Vihear Provincial authorities, Department of Environment (DoE), local communities and WCS have successfully completed the demarcation of the Phnom Tbeng Natural Heritage Park (PTNHP). This involved clearly delineating the protected area through the placement of 40 concrete posts at key locations on its boundary. The demarcation paves the way for rangers to patrol the park and enforce forest and wildlife protection laws.
The boundary demarcation exercise, supported by Rainforest trust, was conducted alongside a community engagement and consultation process. This involved holding community workshops lead by the Preah Vihear DoE, and District and Commune Governors, to present the PTNHP boundary location sub-decree, explain protected area laws and answer questions from the respective communities. Engaging communities on issues concerning the protected area has provided an important opportunity to build awareness and ensure support for future conservation activities.
“PTNHP is a historical and cultural site, which people in Preah Vihear and from throughout Cambodia regard as a spiritual place with considerable eco-tourism potential. Many people visit Phnom Tbeng to pay respects, pray and enjoying the environment. The completion of the demarcation exercise is a first step in establishing conservation management of the area. It will ensure communities fully understand where the protected area boundary is located and provide a basis for planning effective ranger patrols,” said Ea Sokha, Director of Preah Vihear Provincial Department of Environment.
“Transportation, especially to install the concrete poles in PTNHP was particularly difficult because the area is mountainous, but through teamwork and coordination we have successfully achieved our goal, as planned,” he added.
PTNHP covers 25,269 hectares and has a general elevation of about 400 meters. It was established in 2016. The park forms a key component of the upper watershed of the Stung Sen River, a tributary of the Tonle Sap Lake.
“The Phnom Tbeng plateau and forests act as a ‘water tower’, performing a vital role in watershed protection and the prevention of natural disasters such as landslides. Ensuring the long-term management of this conservation area and its biodiversity will have significant socio-economic value for local communities and future generations,” said Chris Hamley, WCS’s Landscape Technical Advisor for the Northern Plains of Cambodia.