RECOFTC Cambodia

RECOFTC launches new program in the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve in Cambodia

EU-funded initiative will build the resilience of the ecosystem and communities to rapid environmental changes.
Dei Roneat, a floating village​​ in Pursat Province is participating in Our Tonle Sap project.
Dei Roneat, a floating village​​ in Pursat Province is participating in Our Tonle Sap project.

RECOFTC launched new activities on 21 April 2022 as part of a project  to restore and protect the Tonle Sap ecosystem. The project will involve 13 communities and 5,041 people covering more than 43,583 hectares of forested and agricultural land, wetlands and lake.

Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve is recognized by UNESCO, a specialized agency of the United Nations. Its flooded forests are a biodiversity hotspot of global importance. They harbour many rare and endangered species, and are home to many communities that rely on the wetland reserve for life and livelihoods. 

The Reserve is threatened by the effects of climate change and other factors that are causing a decline in and decreasing the reliability of seasonal floods and increasing forest fires in the flooded forests. The wetland reserve is also threatened by overfishing. The project will address these problems by restoring critical habitats, enhancing community-based management of the landscape and forest fires, improve landscape governance, and reduce the drivers of environmental changes. 

RECOFTC supports 13 communities in four Cambodian provinces on forest flood restoration and forest fire management through Our Tonle Sap project. 
RECOFTC supports 13 communities in four target provinces through Our Tonle Sap project. 

“Most of the forest fires that occur in the flooded forests of Tonle Sap Lake are due to illegal human activities,” said Chhneang Kirivuth, a community forestry partnership coordinator with RECOFTC Cambodia. “Few are due to nature itself. Through this project communities will develop and implement forest fire management plans. They will also restore the flooded forest, strengthening the fisheries and securing sustainable livelihoods for themselves. Their work will also protect and conserve biodiversity.” 

Our Tonle Sap project is funded by the European Union and led by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Project partners include RECOFTC , Sansom Mlup Prey (SMP), ForumCIV , Oxfam, NatureLife Cambodia , SHE Investment  and Cambodian Disabled People's Organisation (CDPO). The partners are working closely with communities and the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, and the Forestry Administration at all levels. The project is linked to a national forest fire prevention and management plan 2021-2025 by the Fisheries administration in Cambodia.

The partners are implementing the project from April 2021 to July 2024 in six provinces: Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Kampong Thom, Kampong Chhnang, Siem Reap and Pursat. 

For more information about RECOFTC’s work on the Our Tonle Sap project, contact Chhneang Kirivuth,