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Cambodia advances community-managed forestry
RECOFTC (an RRI Partner) reports that the Cambodian Ministry for Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries (MAFF) recently designated 127,000 ha of forests for community management. The prakas, or ministerial regulation, was signed on 19 November and marks a continuation of previous government support of sustainable forestry management. In 2007, the ministry recognized 18,000 ha of community forests near Siam Reap.
Local people and community forestry advocates are pushing for the final step of formal registration, which would give local people full access and management rights to these forested lands for the next fifteen years. This would also include forest resource use by local communities, including timber harvesting.
“Until now I was very concerned that my community forest did not have legal approval. Now I’ve heard that the Ministry issued a prakas I am very pleased and this motivates me to carry on with the community forest development,” said Mr Choup Sou, chairman of a Community Forestry Management Committee (CFMC) in Kampong Thom province. “Our community forest started in 2002 and at that time forest resources were degraded. After community management for six years the forest condition has improved – we can see that the trees are higher. Now we plan to protect our forest another five years; then we expect to harvest good timber.”
Village chief and CFMC member from Kampong Thom, Mr Chhun Moeun, was also very happy to recieve the news, stating
“My villagers are very happy too, because we need this legal recognition. So far we have been working hard to protect the forest and now the forest condition is very good. We expect in five years more we can harvest timber for house construction and also use non-timber products like mushrooms and fruit trees.”
Thomas Gam Nielsen and Sam Rith of the Phenom Pehn Post also reported on the community forestry announcement. The quoted Ty Sokun, director general at the Forestry Administration within MAFF, as commenting on the improvement of the kingdom’s natural spaces and the enhancement of local living standards through community management of forests.
"They live in the area, so they can keep an eye on it much better. They will be allowed to confiscate chainsaws for a short period and call on the local forestry administration to pursue legal action," he said. "It provides people an opportunity to protect their own livelihoods , and [it] reduces poverty as well," Sokun said, referring to the communities' rights to harvest forestry products in a sustainable way.
Read the complete RECOFTC press release: 'Cambodia's Community-managed Forest Area to Expand Seven-fold'
Posted By Lopaka Purdy at 8:25am on December 03, 2008
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