Local Communities

There are several villages situated inside and adjacent to the boundaries of the Preah Vihear Protected Forest and the Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary. Most inhabitants are smallholder farmers who depend on rain-fed paddy or upland rice fields supplemented by small scale animal raising and collection of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) to supply their basic needs. Fish, frogs, eels and other forest products are very important sources of food and cash income. The population within the parks are mostly ethnic Khmer, Lao and Kuoy people and 50.2% of the population is under 18 years old.

Many of these villages have existing agriculture and residential areas within these sites and also use many of the non-timber forest products. Some villages have existed in their present location for a long time and in many cases before the sites were gazetted as a protected forest or protected area.

Over the past three decades, many of these communities have undergone significant upheaval. From the early 1970s the region was a central base of the Khmer Rouge, and experienced long periods of conflict and civil war. During this time the local population was translocated and forced to adopt collectivized paddy rice growing. Following the fall of the Khmer regime, families began to return home in the 1980s and, to some extent, re-established traditional livelihood practices.

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