WCS partners with the Government of Cambodia in two conservation projects in the Tonle Sap landscape, protecting key species in the lake's flooded forest and floodplain.
The Prek Toal conservation project, implemented in partnership with the Minstry of Environment (MoE), protects and monitors the breeding colonies of some of the world's most threatened water birds, situated in the flooded forest of the Prek Toal Core Area. The Prek Toal Core Area is one of three Core Areas within the larger Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve (TSBR), which was created in 1997, and has been the focus of MoE/WCS monitoring activities since 2001. WCS is also a partner in the Tonle Sap Conservation Project (TSCP) a seven-year UNDP/GEF project aimed at developing the management capacity for biodiversity conservation in the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve.
The Tonle Sap Grasslands conservation project, implemented in partnership with the Forestry Administration, Birdlife International and several local NGO partners, protects one of the world's rarest birds, the Critically Endangered Bengal Florican, in the Tonle Sap floodplain. This project was launched in 2005, and has focused on the creation of new protected areas - Integrated Farming and Biodiversity Areas (IFBAs)- which allows existing communities to continue their farming activities under co-management frameworks, but prevents the development of large-scale, harmful, commercial agriculture. This benefits both threatened wildlife and local communities, ensuring ecological diversity and economic stability. There are currently six IFBAs declared by Provincial Deika covering 38,755 ha (388 km2) in Kampong Thom and Siem Reap provinces, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is currently developing a proposal to further strengthen the legal status of these areas.
Support has been provided by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), Global Environment Facility, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Sam Veasna Center for Conservation, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and WCS Trustee Eleanor Briggs.