Koh Kong provincial authorities on December 27 officially inaugurated the Chi Khor Leu Forest Research Station in Sre Ambel district’s Chi Khor Leu commune, which was funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) through the Greater Mekong Sub-region Biodiversity Conservation Corridors Project in Cambodia.
Deputy provincial governor Ouk Pheaktra said on December 27 that the construction of the station was to support the rehabilitation of the forest ecosystem and ensure that it is resilient to climate change and to do so in a sustainable manner. The ADB aid project can also provide employment and income to the communities of the Biodiversity Conservation Corridors.
“This project was implemented to reforest wildlife sanctuaries and degraded forest land with saplings and preserve natural crops to improve livelihoods and increase income through village development funding and providing small-scale infrastructure and creating short-term jobs for families in the communities through project activities,” he said.
He added that the project was focused on empowering the community to manage forest resources through boundary demarcation, forest management planning and the legal recognition of natural protected area community formation processes and forest communities as well.
Chi Khor Leu commune chief Sun Kheang said on December 27 that the station was established for students to learn about the forest and that the authorities had prepared more than two hectares of land for a nursery to grow saplings prior to transplantation.
He added that the station together with the Biodiversity Conservation Corridors Project of ADB had supported two target communities in the commune — the natural protected area community and the Samaki Prek Chik forest community. More than 500 families in the commune had benefited greatly from the project.
“When they take care of the saplings on the more than 2 ha of land, we hire them for the day or even an hour. Through this project, now we have worked a lot. We have received two community offices. We received latrines, pump wells, drainage wells, irrigation systems – there are many benefits through this project and the station is very useful,” he said.
Sun Kheang continued that the project’s implementation began 10 years ago and had resulted in a lot of progress in protecting the area for the local people’s benefit, including 550 ha of natural resource protection area community land and more than 300 ha of Samaki Prek Chik forest community land, allowing the communities to plant saplings and other fruit trees.
He said the project will be completed on December 30 and he was worried about not being able to manage the work thereafter without the assistance regularly provided up until now because the ADB projects have provided help to the local people in the form of technical assistance and management and other organizations were often involved in coordinating the work.