23 protected areas and 3 Ramsar sites
Cambodia pioneered the creation of protected areas in South East Asia
in 1925 by setting aside the Angkor temple complex and surrounding areas
for protection. In 1993, a Royal Decree established a national system
comprising 23 protected areas classified under four major categories:
National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Protected Landscapes, and Multiple
The Department of Nature Conservation and Protection under the Ministry
of Environment has the responsibility for overseeing these 23 protected
areas and 3 Ramsar sites, two of which are contained within the 23 protected
areas. Combined, all of these areas cover 32,289 sq km.
Today, the greatest threat to Cardamom Mountains landscape come from
the country's rapid post-conflict development trajectory; road construction,
intensive agriculture and a hunger for land threaten to fragment the landscape
irreparably. Mining companies have been granted access, forcing local
communities from their tradition local community development into the
future will be a difficult balancing act.
Inward migration of natural values must happen alongside the sustainable
development of existing communalities. The area has been identified as
one worthy of World not only greater recognition and protection of the
area's natural values, but perhaps also go some way to safeguarding the
rich cultural heritage of the traditional custodians of the forest.
A two million hectare landscape consists of rugged mountain ranges,
peaks up to 1800 meters and extensive lowland forests. Rivers channel
the heavy rains into the Great Lake, nourishing the fisheries and rice
paddies that, in turn, feed the nation. The area remains a haven for globally
threatened species, including tigers, crocodiles and elephants.