Managing Cambodia's mangroves for all

20 January 2011 | News story

The Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary covers more than 25,000 hectares and protects one of Cambodia’s most important mangrove areas. These mangrove forests are a haven for saltwater crocodiles and Irrawaddy dolphins and serve as a stopover for migrating birds like the Asiatic dowitcher and the spotted greenshank.

But uncontrolled access to the area as well as competing uses for its resources, including fishing by local communities and tourism, has led to degradation of this valuable site. National and international concern for the future of the sanctuary led to the establishment of a Protected Area Law in February 2009 which allows for zoning of the area according to the different uses.

IUCN is involved in ongoing efforts to restore the sanctuary through its Livelihoods and Landscapes Strategy. The work aims to show how sustainable natural resource management and zoning an area according to different uses and needs can help secure livelihoods. Local people are now involved in managing the protected area. They now have secure and exclusive rights to harvest fish and crabs in parts of the reserve which is seen as key to the long term viability of conservation efforts. Guidelines for sustainable catch quotas of crabs and fish are being set through scientific monitoring and consultations with the local community and best practice guidelines to help the village management committee are being developed.

This approach to natural resource management is already seeing results. The local communities benefit from sustained income generation through fishing and tourism. The local economy benefits from increased and better-managed tourism. Biodiversity benefits from a sustainably managed reserve that includes a core ‘no-harvest’ zone. And on the national level, Cambodia now has a pilot area that can be used to guide other protected area management projects based on zoning and securing access rights for local people.

For more information contact:

Kimsreng Kong, Senior Programme Officer, IUCN Cambodia Liaison Office; e. kksreng@iucncambodia.org