In a country like Cambodia, which has faced 20-30% deforestation nationwide over the past 10 years, large-scale forest protection in national parks will be the most direct and effective way to protect the country’s 3.1 million hectares of critical forest ecosystems.

Cambodia has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, third only to Nigeria and Vietnam, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The Cambodian government has played a large role in shaping the use of the country’s forests.

Deforestation has directly resulted from poorly managed commercial logging, wood collection for fuel, agricultural invasion, and infrastructure and urban development. Indirect pressures include rapid population growth, inequalities in land tenure, lack of agricultural technology, and limited employment opportunities.

Cambodia’s primary forest cover fell dramatically from over 70% in 1970 at the end of the Vietnam War to just 3.1% in 2007. Deforestation is proceeding at an alarming rate, with a total forest loss of nearly 75% since the late 1990s.

In total, Cambodia lost 2.5 million hectares of forest between 1990 and 2005, 334,000 ha of which was primary forest. As of 2007, less than 322,000 ha of primary forest remain, so the future sustainability of Cambodia’s forest reserves is under severe threat.

Cardamom National Park was established in 2015 and is in dire need of international financial support in order to save one of Cambodia’s last intact tropical forests. Covering almost a million hectares, Cardamom National Park is protected by Wildlife Alliance in partnership with the Ministries of Environment and Forestry.

With Carbon Offset Financing, there is a high potential for the entire Cardamom Mountains to be protected, securing clean water, ecosystem services, tourism revenues and better livelihoods for millions of Cambodians.