Protecting Local Communities and Wildlife in Cambodia

Protecting Local Communities and Wildlife in Cambodia

The Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in east Cambodia protects almost 300,000 hectares of forest. Previously known as the Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area from 2002-09 and the Seima Protection Forest from 2009-16, the protected area is home to a wide range of biodiversity, forests, mountains, and indigenous communities.

For the Bunong people who live there, the forest is a key source of income and plays a large role in their spiritual beliefs. 

The region is also home to two geographically distinct areas of natural significance. The Annamite Mountains are notable for their vast evergreen forests and high levels of local species and the Mekong dry forest is crucial for local wildlife typical of the region to survive.

84 globally threatened species can be found in the project area, including Asian Elephants, primates, wild cattle, and birds such as the Giant Ibis and Green Peafowl. The world’s largest population of black-shanked douc and yellow-cheeked crested gibbon lives in the area.

However, local biodiversity and forest-dependent communities are increasingly under threat from unstainable resource extraction such as logging, hunting, and fishing.

The conservation work by the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary has had a huge impact on reducing emissions and protecting local wildlife and communities. Through their work, more than 20 million tonnes of CO2e emissions have been prevented from being released into the atmosphere and 25,000 hectares of forest saved from destruction. Shielding areas from deforestation prevents the release of emissions held within the forests’ biomass and soil.

The project also gives back to local communities, creating employment opportunities and supporting education and training programmes. An ecotourism venture has been established that supports these communities. 

Through a Cash for Communities Programme, that shares the revenue of carbon credit sales, the sanctuary has distributed almost $1 million. Funds go directly to the people of the region, who decide where funds should be allocated. The initiative has supported activities such as developing healthcare, education and building wells and bridges.

The Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the many climate-positive projects Bumper is contributing to through its partnership with Ecologi.

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