Koh Kong Province residents discuss mangrove ecosystem protection strategies
IUCN Cambodia conducted a half-day workshop on 13 November 2012 about local ecosystem protection to prevent adverse changes in local beach and river erosion and sedimentation. Thirteen participants from agencies of the line departments, local authorities, and Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary discussed community-based solutions to support livelihoods during the workshop at the Peam Krasop community meeting hall.
Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary in Koh Kong Province, Cambodia includes one of the largest mangrove forests in Southeast Asia. The forest is situated between major estuaries and the Gulf of Thailand, providing it with ample brackish water for the mangroves to thrive. River bank and coastal beach stability are critical to the long-term health of the mangroves. However, recent erosion of river banks and landward migration of a protective barrier beach have left the forest vulnerable to further climate change impacts, particularly during the last five years.
As part of the Europe Union funded Building Coastal Resilience (BCR) project, a field study was conducted September – November 2012 to identify ecosystem changes and community-based solutions to improve livelihood resilience. During the workshop, findings were discussed as well as the importance of maintaining a steady flow of sediment from rivers to the coast. Participants shared their understanding of downstream impacts on livelihoods from unsustainable actions upstream. In this way, the high level of connectivity of the watershed was illuminated.
Participants worked together to identify solutions to river and coastal erosion. Local knowledge was contributed about native plant species that can be used in particular environments for rehabilitation. Plans are now being made to apply the lessons learned during the workshop. In this way, improvements can be made in the health of the mangrove ecosystem to protect local livelihoods from coastal hazards associated with climate change in Koh Kong Province, Cambodia.
By Brian Kastl