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Community-Based Ecotourism: Livelihood cum Adaptation Strategy for Kampong Speu Province, Cambodia

Chambok is a community in Kampong Speu province, Cambodia. It lies on the border of Kirirom National Park, where the eastern slope of Cardamom Mountain can be found. Commonly, villagers earn money by home gardening and animal raising. However, some parts of its land are being used in mining, leaving less arable area for people to grow crops. Because of this, villagers resort to logging and destroying the forests for timber and non-timber products, which they sell for a living. Ninety-four percent (94%) of the people in the community illegally log trees, hunt wildlife, and burn wood for charcoal. All these activities affect biodiversity and natural resources. Furthermore, it affects the people’s livelihood since they rely on forest products to earn money. It also makes the village vulnerable to drought. Sixty-six percent (66%) of the people in Chambok does not have other sources of income. They have become poorer because of the lack of arable lands, land use change, erosion, use of chemical pesticides, and drought. Thus, some of them migrate to other places for work. Since natural resources are important to the villagers, Mlup Baitong, an environmental non-government organization, worked with the community to establish Community-Based Ecotourism (CBET) with the aim of sustainably managing natural resources and improving the livelihood of people. CBET in Chambok was established in 2003 and has since conducted a lot of activities for natural resource conservation, income generation, and community capacity-building. Through the community’s cooperation and facilitation by the authorities, Mlup Baitong was able to provide training courses to community members for capacity-building on forest management and awareness-raising about the importance of natural resources and its relation to ecotourism. The community members identified the potential places that can attract the visitors, such as the waterfalls, batcave, lake, and the forest in the Community Protected Area. The ecotourism site covers 161 ha, situated on the borders of Kirirom National Park and the Community Protected Area.


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