To establish if a REDD project might be possible in the Northern Plains, WCS is implementing a feasibility study which will review the status of the forest and its carbon stocks. This includes studying historical and potential future deforestation rates under different project scenarios, studying drivers of deforestation and a preliminary study of the carbon stocks in the landscape.
In 2009 we have developed maps of current and historical land use in the Northern Plains which indicate the extent of forest cover and how it has changed in recent years. In November 2009, Northern Plains staff were trained in forest carbon plot sampling techniques and sampling has now started across the landscape in different forest types. This will provide a broad estimate of carbon stocks in the forest and can thus be used to estimate potential revenue from a REDD project if developed.
The Northern Plains of Cambodia contain a mosaic of forest types across a large area of nearly 400,000 hectares (approximately 1,000,000 acres). Sustainable financing for forest conservation here has been identified as a critical issue for effective management in the landscape. Sale of forest carbon credits, from a Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) project, is a significant potential source of long-term financing for forest conservation. REDD payments could also provide an important mechanism to increase incentives for forest conservation in Cambodia and the significantly improve livelihoods in remote rural areas.