Backed by funding from the European Union's Our Tonle Sap project via NatureLife Cambodia, the Balot Community Protected Area (CPA) has been actively collaborating with rangers at the Boeng Tonle Chhmar Ramsar site since August 2022 to safeguard natural resources.
The project incorporates SMART Mobile, a tool that allows users to record observations quickly and accurately. This tool is tailored to user needs, logging locations and travel paths. This information is then semi-automatically collected and integrated into the SMART conservation software system.
Such technology aids in increasing community participation in conservation efforts. It enhances the skill set of community committees, enabling them to conduct monthly patrols within their community and at the Boeng Tonle Chhmar Ramsar site.
These patrols aim to identify illegal activities and raise awareness about conservation work, according to a NatureLife Cambodia Facebook post dated July 14.
In May, the Ministry of Environment recognised the Balot CPA of the Tonle Chhmar Lake Ramsar site in Ballot village, Peam Bang commune, Stoung district, Kampong Thom province. This area of 65 hectares aims to preserve natural resources, traditions, customs, and religious beliefs, thus enhancing the livelihoods of local residents through sustainable use of natural resources.
The Balot Community Conservation Project has been closely monitoring and recording biodiversity situations, especially those concerning waterbird species and other endangered species threatened by human activity, using the SMART Mobile conservation system.
In June 2023, the Balot CPA Committee conducted four patrols, during which they uncovered one illegal fishing case involving a gillnet. The community instructed the owner to remove the net from the site. The SMART Mobile tool also helped the team record 21 species of waterbirds and rescue a python that local fishermen had trapped.