There are various very significant threats PRCF Cambodia tries to address in order to protect the nature of Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary, Virachey National Park, O’Yadav National Park and their surrounding areas. Perhaps one of the most significant threats is the lack of law enforcement and the low official capacity to combat illegal and unsustainable hunting, fishing, logging, and land encroachment. We work with both sanctuary officials and local stakeholders communities to combat these threats, and in doing so develop collaboration ties between the local stakeholders.
Lack of law enforcement capacity
Conservation areas in the greater Lomphat-Virachey-O’Yadav landscape are subject to illegal and unsustainable extraction of forest products, particularly high-valued timber. Although illegal, enforcement of protective laws is difficult given the low number of rangers and local community patrolling teams have no authority to arrest. Further, law enforcement capacity is limited by a lack of funding and training to support regular patrolling within and around the protected areas.
To address this threat, we have:
- provided direction, training, monitoring, and support to local law enforcement to increase the number of patrolled areas identified as high priority for conservation
- created sustainable financing options to combat lack of funding by the Ministry of Environment for law enforcement within the protected area landscapes
- engaged communities within and nearby Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary in community-based conservation to support law enforcement
Land encroachment, concessions, and lack of protected priority areas
Although Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary was designated for biodiversity conservation, not all of the sanctuary is protected from use. Sections accounting to about one third of the landscape have been provided to private companies as economic land concessions, while others are used by local communities living within and nearby the sanctuary.
An internal zonation scheme has been drafted by PRCF and partners to help safeguard the biodiversity of the remaining sanctuary landscape, and several Community Conservation Areas are in process of establishment, with one already established by PRCF and another in process.
About one third of the sanctuary was allocated to private companies as economic land concessions
The presence of economic land concessions within its landscape has significantly reduced the effectiveness of the sanctuary to protect the endangered species and their habitat. Additionally, communities bordering the sanctuary have growing demands for agricultural land and forest resources, particularly timber and wildlife. In some areas, sanctuary boundaries are not marked and are subject to use even when considered to be a protected zone.
To help combat encroachment, we have:
- drafted zoning plans to increase protection in high priority areas within the sanctuary, and defined priority conservation actions for key sanctuary zones
- established one community protection area and drafted plans for an additional five areas to help with conservation of sanctuary lands adjacent to economic land concessions
- engaged communities in developing their own conservation efforts, including community land conservation, Ibis conservation groups, and sustainable fishing patrollers
Learn more about our Current Initiatives!