Community forestry groups recently began an inventory of timber and other forest resources in the buffer zone of the Seima Protection Forest. This is an exciting step forward on a ground-breaking project that will increase the benefits of forest management for local communities and ensure better forest protection.
The Community-based Production Forestry Project (CBPF) is unique in Cambodia as the only community forest area to focus on sustainable harvesting of high value timber. The area has been chosen as the national pilot site for this approach in the recently approved National Forestry Program. As such it has the potential to increase the financial benefits of the community forestry sector in Cambodia, which have been limited to date. The project will also benefit conservation by maintaining high quality forest, reducing forest crime and providing alternative income sources to villagers. Management plans will be designed to ensure the protection of key species that use the area, such as elephants, wild cattle, Green Peafowl and otters.
The inventory work will eventually cover more than 12,000 ha (120 km2) and take more than a year to complete. Work is now underway on a 300 ha training area, representative of the wider forest, where community members can develop their skills. It is also an opportunity for the Community Forestry Office of the Forestry Administration to test enhanced inventory methods, building on the existing national guidelines. The inventory has been designed to provide low-cost additional data on carbon stocks, so that stakeholders can assess the feasibility of seeking payments for reduced carbon emissions under the REDD framework.
The CBPF project has been supported in the past by Dfid, Danida, NZ Aid and the MacArthur Foundation. The current phase of work is supported by the Japanese Institute for Geographical and Environmental Studies (IGES). It is a collaboration between the Forestry Administration, WCS and, from late 2010, Centre for People and Forests (RECOFTC).