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Cardamom Mountains

The local indigenous Khmer Daeum who call this pristine, mountainous, rainforest home have historically used resources in harmony with the landscape. But now, a changing climate and deep-set poverty force local communities to turn to the forest for an income and to escape hunger.

More than 70 species in the Cardamom Mountains are classified as endangered, and for many keystone species like the Asian Elephant and Siamese Crocodile, this forest represents their last real hope of survival.

Cool Earth’s partnership in Cambodia with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) envisions a future where local communities in the Cardamom Mountains are able to sustainably manage their land and protect their environment long term.

This ranges from developing techniques that improve rice production to supporting the critically endangered Siamese crocodile within the river’s ecosystem that may improve fish numbers. All will help reduce local hunger months and aim to limit logging and the need to hunt for bushmeat.

Partner Organisation: Fauna & Flora International (FFI)

The village of Por Beung sits among the Cardomom Mountains, Cambodia

 

Challenges

Hunger months are when a family is unable to eat sufficient nutritious food due to lack of money or resources. In this area alone, three-quarters of the indigenous community suffer from food insecurity with three hunger months a year, many earning less than $1 a day.

Decades of conflict and corruption have fuelled forest exploitation with families desperate to find a source of income. The loss of so many of the local population during conflict has meant that communities have also been losing their cultural and spiritual ties with the forest.

With 85% of people needing to pay for medical services not having the means to pay, many take loans that exacerbate debt which they attempt to resolve through unsustainable forest use.

The cycle of hunger and poverty drives poaching, hunting for bushmeat and conflict between communities, elephants and crocodiles.



Ngin si Nguoun: Community Rice Advisor, Por Beung

Activities



Planned Outcomes

Decreasing the severity of hunger months will aim to reduce any reliance on logging and hunting for an income and source of food. Helping to put people back in charge of their forest, and live in harmony with local wildlife.

By integrating community-led conservation, sustainable livelihood development, and drawing upon a strong connection to the landscape, this partnership aims to improve lives and remove pressure on the forest.



Cardamom mountains | Cambodia | Crocodile Site | Rainforest | Drone Image
“I am happy to live here, it is my birth land. I love to live here, I love the forest and I don’t want to lose it. I am committed to protecting it.”
- Om Jan, Commune Councillor, Por Beung
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