Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary Management Plan Developed in Protecting Wildlife and Sustaining Community Livelihoods
The Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary (PPWS) is home to a variety of different species over an area of 2220km2 in the Eastern Plains Landscape (EPL) and is considered to be an important area for the support of numerous endangered species. The PPWS is not only home to many of Cambodia’s most critically endangered species, it is also important for social and cultural aspects in regard to the local communities. In order to maintain sustainable livelihoods for the local communities, it is important to encourage them to work hand-in-hand with their natural surroundings, including – protecting the wildlife, sustainable use of the natural resources etc. this is especially important as the habitat of the PPWS is under serious threat from illegal loggers and poachers as well a high risk towards wildlife because of increased presence of domestic dogs.
The PPWS Management Plan serves as a guideline in protecting the PPWS over the next five years, including management approaches, goals and a framework for decision making. The future vision is that the PPWS is sustainably managed and protected, the biodiversity is maintained, and the natural resources that it provides are sustainably used, which will, in time, contribute to rural economy, poverty reduction, and climate change mitigation.
Four goals and three targets have been established, and aim to re reached by 2021:
- Maintain and conserve globally threatened species
- Maintain and enhance the ecological and cultural values of PPWS;
- Promote participatory community engagement and support for conservation management and sustainable development in Community Protected Areas;
- Promote PPWS nationally and internationally as a model Protected Area in Cambodia.
TargetsTarget 1: By 2021, the area of semi-evergreen, evergreen and mixed-deciduous forest is maintained at 2016 baseline.
Target 2: By 2021, key species in PPWS have a stable or increasing population based on 2016 baseline (Asian elephant, Banteng, leopard, vultures, and Yellow-cheeked gibbon). Identify baselines for White-shouldered Ibis and Giant Ibis and monitor trends.
Target 3: By 2021, all existing communities have a Community Protected Area agreement and management plan in place and new CPAs are in alignment with the strategic ecological designation.
In order to reach these goals and targets, much work must be done including, raising awareness of unsustainable living, law enforcement and scientific research of wildlife present.
Environmental awareness:It is important to raise awareness about the environment and conservation, therefore, relevant environmental education with stakeholders will be a priority. It is also necessary to continue to work towards sustainable livelihoods, increase community outreach, and establish Community Protected Areas (CPA). Aside from this, the boundaries and zones of the PPWS must be secured. The proposal of several zones has been implemented, including:
- Proposed core zone – This area was developed based on the criteria that it must have a high conservation of rare and endangered species, and a delicate ecosystem, where access is prohibited.
- Proposed conservation zone – Must be near core zone, high value for conservation.
- Sustainable use zone – Has a high economic value which serves to develop the national economy, management, Protected Area, and local livelihoods.
- Community Zone – A zone used to aid the economic development of communities and indigenous people. People are able to obtain their own land title.
Law enforcement:Although progress has been made in many areas, it is important to consider outside threats, and adjust the process to comply with them. Threats toward the natural environment of the PPWS will constantly be monitored. To achieve the goals of this management plan, all collected data will be monitored and evaluated at least once a year.
One of the most important factors in maintaining a sustainable environment is law enforcement. The plan for the upcoming 5 years is to increase the number of rangers, improve the patrol plan and operations, increase joint patrolling, and equip the rangers and outposts with relevant and necessary supplies.
Scientific research priorities:
It is necessary to improve the knowledge of biological values and ecosystem services by monitoring and managing the values of the PPWS. Including:
- Conducting research and inventories on flora diversity
- Monitor Asian elephant population trends and gain a greater understanding of their movements
- Increase knowledge of Gibbon densities and habitat use
- Gain baseline of Leopard densities within PPWS
- Gain greater understanding of White-shoulder ibis and Giant ibis numbers and nesting sites
- Collaborate with communities, and fisheries to improve understanding of fish diversity and importance to local livelihoods
- Improve collaboration with National and International Universities to improve understanding of biodiversity within PPWS
- Increase understanding of vulture nesting sites and increase awareness on impact of poisoning which is threatening these critical species
There are many different aspects that could hinder reaching these goals if not implemented properly. To ensure that everything is going according to plan, an annual review will be held in order to assess the positives and negatives of the year, and discuss how they can be improved.