Cambodia maintains roughly 58% forest cover, compared to 73% prior to the civil war, which began in 1970, and is rich in biodiversity. The country is home to a remarkable range of wildlife, plants and habitats, including more than 1,000 species of fish and approximately 11 million hectares of forest cover. It is home to the third-largest lowland dry evergreen forest in Southeast Asia, with 2,300 plant species, 14 endangered animals, and one of seven elephant corridors left in the world. However, only 24% of its land is protected by royal decrees. Threats to Cambodia’s forest landscapes and biodiversity include clearing and degradation, overexploitation of key species, and undervaluing of ecological services such as carbon sequestration. The expansion of industrialized agriculture and mine exploration continue to degrade forests significantly.
USAID is working across many of Cambodia’s landscapes to help conserve Cambodia’s forests and rich biodiversity through preservation and sustainable management of natural resources. Activities are promoting the growth of non-timber forest products and linking entrepreneurs with business development service providers so that they can access productivity-enhancing expertise, technology, equipment and credit. Expected long-term results include the preservation and conservation of forest lands and other areas of significant biodiversity, through a clear plan for sustainable natural resource management. USAID is also supporting the capacity of the government and local communities to identify and take advantage of opportunities for revenue generation from carbon sequestration and the avoidance of emissions from deforestation. In addition, USAID’s activities are strengthening the Cambodian government’s legal, policy and institutional frameworks to improve implementation, enforcement and compliance with environmental laws, international commitments and participation in the UN’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest program.
• Helped over 17,000 people reap the economic benefits of sustainable natural management and conservation.
• Trained nearly 3,000 people in natural resources management and/or biodiversity conservation.
• Improved the management of natural resources on over 80,000 hectares of land.
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