Most of the community forests of Cambodia are very degraded which strongly limits the potential of income generating activities for the communities to sustainably manage their forest resources.
In collaboration with Bagong Pagasa Foundation from the Philippines, GERES is promoting Assisted Natural Regeneration to the members of the community forests supported by its projects. Last September, the members of the community forestry sites of Bong Kong Kmom and Cheu Teal as well as the provincial staffs from the Forestry Administration of Pursat were trained to Assisted Natural Regeneration techniques on the field.
Cost-efficient method to protect and restore Cambodian forests
Assisted Natural Regeneration is known as a cost-effective method to restore forest landscapes compare to conventional reforestation methods. Patrick Charles Dugan from Bagong Pagasa Foundation supported the communities to locate the small trees with high value in the future then released their natural regeneration potential from competing vegetation or grass.
Lodging or pressing technique was applied to the area where high grass is dominating the selected trees. This flatten grass is able to improve the soil moisture retention and reduce the impact and the spread of fire. Forest fire can happen easily particularly during dry and hot period, which is normally from January to May, when people who travel pass by the forest just carelessly smoke and throw their cigarettes away.
Removing grass to create fire break allows reducing the risk of fire and therefore protecting the natural regeneration of trees. To prevent the regrowth of the grass and fulfill the demand of local people new crops can be planted in these areas.
Assisted Natural Regeneration has good potential to increase the forest capital and contribute to provide sustainable livelihoods to the communities, however external support is still needed in the short and medium term and this should be grounded with a strong will of the communities to protect and restore their forest for the next generation.