In the past five years, sustainable forest product projects have been implemented in 18 of Mondulkiri province’s protected areas, with local communities now enjoying full legal rights to manage and use natural resources there.
The 18 areas cover 57,361ha of forest and have a population of 16,035, or about 16 per cent of the total provincial population.
In a press release, the Ministry of Environment said the communities are located nearby the Srepok and Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuaries and are among 24 protected areas in the province.
“Their living standards have improved as a result of these projects. They focused on agriculture and community-based enterprises based on non-timber forest products, such as animal husbandry and crop cultivation, rather than relying totally on forestry resources,” it said.
“One example of the remarkable achievements is the ‘Mondulkiri Wild Honey, which has officially received a protected Geographical Indication (GI) status and has played an important role in increasing incomes and improving the living standards of local people.
"Achieving community ownership encourages the communities to become more active in all forms of conservation, such as patrols in and out of community forests, to further increase the protection and conservation of local natural resources,” it continued.
A workshop was held in Sen Monorom town to highlight these achievements. The projects, run in order to find sustainable solutions for the protected areas of the eastern highlands of Cambodia, were carried out from February 2018 to December 2022.
“These projects also encourage communities to take part in determining solutions to land disputes and in preventing deforestation,” it added.