This article introduces the project ‘The Registration of Small-Scale Private Forest Plantations (AFoCO/012/2019)’, which was recently launched as a new project.
Cambodia has experienced significant declines in forest cover in the past decades. The country’s reforestation efforts are now focused on establishing a national platform to support private forest plantations. Efforts to introduce integrated approaches into forest landscape restoration activities to attract the private sector, small-scale farmers, and financial institutions — the latter of which have heretofore lacked collateral assurances from the government for loan programs to invest in forest plantations — are increasing.
The principal elements of that approach were recently espoused when the country’s first “Declaration on Private Forests” was promulgated with the aims of promoting public-private-farmer partnerships for establishing small and medium-scale forest plantations and increasing forest cover throughout the country.
The implementation of the declaration requires an effective enabling environment, which would include the establishment of practical guidelines and incentives for confirming tenure and registering small-scale private forest plantations, extensive stakeholder consultations, and awareness-raising campaigns, as well as the piloting of private small and medium-scale forest plantations.
Project initiation and development
The project entitled The Registration of Small-Scale Private Forest Plantations was developed to coincide with the recent promulgation of the government’s “Declaration on Private Forests”. The project aims to facilitate the development of guidelines and incentive mechanisms at the national level, which defines the conditions required for confirming tenure and registering small-scale forest plantations. Likewise, it is also targeted at raising public awareness on the guidelines particularly for the private sector and small-scale farmers who will invest their resources in the future.
The project directly supports the development of the national policy of Cambodia associated with private forest plantations, as stated in the “Forestry Law 2002” and the “National Forest Program 2010-2029”. Specifically, the project will assist the Forestry Administration (FA) of Cambodia in producing tangible outputs, including the endorsement of guidelines on small-scale private forest establishment and registration, which will ultimately incentivize people to invest in tree planting. Beginning in January 2020, this two-year project will be implemented until the end of December in 2021. During the project period, farmers directly benefit from the technical support and seedlings provided by the project activities. To select marketable tree species, the project will offer on-site training sessions to help farmers respond appropriately to current market requirements and future demands. The project was designed to be implemented at a pilot-scale as well to strengthen capacity building and promote awareness activities on the establishment of small-scale private forest plantations.
The initiation of such pilot activities will highlight the customized models of reforestation suitable locally as well as regionally to a certain extent. Such activities are also expected to improve livelihoods, especially through forest-based small-scale private forest plantation activities.
The project’s contribution to the increase in forest cover through mini-green areas will also ameliorate some of the unintended impacts of climate change, at least at micro-levels.
Experiences and lessons learned from the project will strengthen the capacity of the FA, the lead forestry agency in Cambodia, to further develop and expand the country’s private forest plantation areas. The project is a pioneering effort to stimulate interest and help tree farmers regain the confidence to invest in private forests and contribute to forest cover expansion.
It is envisioned that by increasing the number of mini-green areas owned by individuals and communities across the country, the project will contribute modestly, but nevertheless meaningfully, to increasing the forest cover in the country.
Contributed by Vireak Chhorn, AFoCO Fellowship Official from Cambodia and Mr. Chheang Dany, Project Manager (AFoCO/012/2019), Deputy Director-General, Forestry Administration of Cambodia
(All photos courtesy of AFoCO-FA 012/19)