There is increasing pressure on the natural resources from residents and migrants living in and around the area. Loss of forest cover and encroachment on previously uninhabited forest, combined with several years of national and regional turmoil, has resulted in serious threats to fauna and flora.
The specific threats to biodiversity and habitat integrity are large and very diverse:
- Hunting for local consumption and poaching for domestic and international wildlife trade is the greatest immediate threat to wildlife in the dry forests. Human-wildlife conflicts are also expected to increase in the future.
- Illegal logging of high value "luxury" timber threatens to degrade patches of semi-evergreen forest that form critical habitats for wild cattle and elephants.
- Population growth puts pressure on natural resources, especially as the road network improves and the needs of people exceeds the amount of land available for wet rice production.
- Mining for gold and bauxite puts the future integrity of forests and river systems at risk, especially with exploration concessions also awarded within protected area boundaries. Mining leads to chemical and sediment pollution, increased demand for wildlife and timber, increased clearing of land, as well as spread of diseases from introduced domestic animals.
- Ambitious plans for upstream hydropower development on the Srepok River threaten the entire Srepok ecosystem because of changes to the river’s flow regime, possible pollution, and barriers to fish migration and reproduction, as well as habitat destruction via roads, forest clearance, and flooding.
- Fishing in the Srepok River and its tributaries has apparently exceeded sustainable levels as fishermen have noted a significant decline in fish catches in the past few years. If this trend continues, local fish population will be heavily affected.
- Tapping of liquid resin is a traditional practice of local people but carries collateral risks due to opportunistic hunting by collectors, diseases spread by domestic ox and dogs, as well as disturbance due to fire.
- Introduced plant species may displace native plant communities while providing little value for wildlife. Several such alien species have already become established in protected areas, and numbers are likely to rise with increasing human disturbance.
- Climate change models predict more pronounced dry seasons that could change the dry forest mosaic of the Eastern Plains in unforeseen ways, possibly reducing the proportion of semi-evergreen forest and likely also changing the fire regime.
- Concessions to commercial agriculture threaten to seriously disrupt the wildlife corridors between protected areas. Long-term connectivity between the region’s protected areas, including between Cambodia and Vietnam, is essential for the long-term protection of the Eastern Plains Landscape.