Examining Trajectories of Change for Prosperous Forest Landscapes in Cambodia

TitleExamining Trajectories of Change for Prosperous Forest Landscapes in Cambodia
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsRiggs RAnne, Langston JDouglas, Beauchamp E, Travers H, Ken S, Margules C
Secondary TitleEnvironmental Management
Key themesConversion-FoodSecurity, Environment

Tropical forest landscapes are undergoing rapid transition. Rural development aspirations are rising, and land use change is contributing to deforestation, degradation, and biodiversity loss, which threaten the future of tropical forests. Conservation initiatives must deal with complex social, political, and ecological decisions involving trade-offs between the extent of protected areas and quality of conservation. In Cambodia, smallholders and industrial economic land concessions drive deforestation and forest degradation. Rural economic benefits have not kept pace with development aspirations and smallholders are gradually expanding agriculture into protected forests. We examine the drivers and effects of rural forest landscape transitions in Cambodia to identify trade-offs between conservation and development. Using historical trends analysis and information gathered through key informant interviews, we describe how local communities perceive social and ecological changes, and examine the implications of local development aspirations for conservation. We explore three scenarios for the future of conservation in Cambodia, each with different conservation and community development outcomes. We contend that conservation efforts should focus on strengthening governance to meet social and environmental requirements for sustainable forest landscapes. We suggest potential entry points for governance improvements, including working with local decision-makers and fostering collaboration between stakeholders. There is a need for realistic priority setting in contested tropical forest landscapes. Prosperous rural economies are a necessary but not sufficient condition for conservation.


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Document Type

Journal Article