Oddar Meanchey Province, Cambodia
7.8 million tons
Oddar Meanchey Community REDD+ Project, Cambodia
About the Project
The Oddar Meanchey REDD+ Project protects 63,831 hectares of evergreen and dry deciduous forest in the northwestern Cambodian province of Oddar Meanchey. This pioneering community-led project was one of the first verified and validated VCS REDD+ Projects and has demonstrated how income from carbon markets can positively impact climate change and community livelihoods. The project will generate an estimated 8.2 million tons of Verified Emission Reductions (VCRs) over 30 years. The project is now selling VERs to continually fund conservation efforts in conjunction with livelihood improvements.
In the 1970s and 80’s, during the height of the Khmer Rouge, Oddar Meanchey was one of the most remote and heavily forested regions of Cambodia. In recent years, the province’s forests have been under constant and intense pressure from commercial and illegal logging, human-made forest fires to catch rare mammals, economic land concessions, and unsustainable agricultural expansion. These issues, coupled with rapid economic growth, population expansion and migration have accelerated deforestation throughout the province; between 2002 and 2008, Oddar Meanchey lost 2% of its forests annually. In response, the Oddar Meanchey REDD+ Project works with local communities to establish Community Forest groups that implement project activities to reduce deforestation, improve livelihoods and protect biodiversity.
The Oddar Meanchey REDD+ Project has legally established land tenure for 13 Community Forests, giving perpetual rights to local communities. The project works with 58 village communities encompassing nearly 8,000 households. Most of the families participating in the project come from a cultural tradition that is highly forest-dependent; communities depend on the forest for a wide range of products including foods, fodder, fuelwood, timber, honey, rattan, bamboo, and resin oils. The project directly benefits these communities by:
- Securing legal land tenure to Community Forest groups
- Building capacity to implement sustainable agriculture practices
- Constructing new, and improving existing, wells and drinking water systems
- Providing employment through forest patrolling, assisted natural regeneration and tree planting
- Developing long-term sustainable land use plans
- Building capacity for long-term project management skills such as planning, budgeting bookkeeping and reporting
In addition, the forests in Oddar Meanchey are critical for the traditional identity of the local communities, particularly for those who have been living in the area for generations. Four of the Community Forest areas contain spirit forests, which locals believe to be inhabited by spirits that protect their villages and ensure prosperity.
The project area is composed of lowland evergreen, semi-evergreen, and dry deciduous forests, constituting some of the last remaining intact tracts of forest in Cambodia. These forests promote watershed protection and erosion control, critically important as Oddar Meanchey province is one of the driest regions in Cambodia.
Numerous globally threatened mammals make their home in the Oddar Meanchey project area, including the IUCN threatened and endangered species; sun bear, sarus crane, northern pig-tailed macaque, and pleated gibbon sunda pangolin, green peafowl, Asian wild buffalo and banteng. The forests of Oddar Meanchey also support some of the last significant wild populations of elephants, leopards, and white rumped falcons in Cambodia. Communities managing and protecting these Community Forests see the presence of these unique species as a source of pride.