Cambodian community calls for nature rehabilitation
Entirely situated in Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary (PKWS), Koh Kapik is one of six communes within Koh Kong province. It is located about 30 kilometers southwest of Koh Kong city.
The commune composes of three different villages namely Koh Kapik I, Koh Kapik II and Koh Sralao. Koh Kapik I and Koh Kapik II are close to each other on the main island, surrounded by seawater and mangrove forests, and approximately 7-8 kilometers away from Koh Sraloa village.According to the commune statistics, in 2011the two villages of Koh Kapik I and Kok Kapik II were made up of 326 households and 1,618 residents. About 90 percent of the workforce are artisanal fishers and the rest are mostly civil servants or local sellers.
According to the result of a vulnerability and capacity assessment done by IUCN in March 2012, the biggest problems local people in Kok Kapik face are boat navigation due to even shallower water levels in the natural creek during the wet season. Residents main livelihoods are heavily dependent upon collection of natural aquatic resources from the open sea and mangrove forests. This supports their food security and generates household income. Loss of local biodiversity would have livelihood and economic implications for the people in this commune. Local people’s livelihoods are linked to natural aquatic resources through a natural creek on which they depend in many different ways through both wet and dry seasons. The creek also provides a transport corridor for doing businesses, going to school, transferring patients and daily communications.
However, the livelihoods of local people in this commune are at risks due to deteriorating conditions including increasingly shallow water levels in the creek) of the natural creek due to soil erosion, accumulation of rotten leaves, sediment and mangrove cuttings from charcoal production since 1990. Navigation of boats along the natural creek is not a problem during the dry season because of high tidal period, but it is very difficult to navigate during the rainy season due to low tidal period. The water level in the natural creek has started becoming shallower since 1996, which it causes difficulty traveling in and out by boats.
Based on the finding, the urgent needs for local people living in Kok Kapik is the rehabilitation of the natural creek which facilitates the boat navigation for their daily activities. Early this year, IUCN Cambodia, through From this year, the EU-funded Building Coastal Resilience Project, , will conduct a feasibility study for the creek’s rehabilitation, including budget estimates and preparation of relevant documents for a strategy to integrate into the commune’s investment plan for 2013-2014.
By Sun Kong, BCR field coordinator