Oddar Meanchey REDD+ project, implemented by the Forestry Administration of the Royal Government of Cambodia, protects 63,831 hectares of forest in the northwest Cambodian province of Oddar Meanchey. The project will generate an estimated 8.2 million tonnes of emission reductions over 30 years. This pioneering community-led project demonstrates how developing countries can generate income from carbon markets and positively impact climate change and community livelihoods.
In the 1970s, 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, forest fires, 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 project has worked directly with local communities to establish Community Forest groups that implement project activities to reduce deforestation, improve livelihoods and protect biodiversity.
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Numerous globally threatened animal species make their home in the Oddar Meanchey project area, including the sun bear, sunda pangolin, northern pig-tailed macaque and pleated gibbon. Two endangered species, the green peafowl and banteng (a target of hunters and poachers in the area), are also present at the site. The forests of Oddar Meanchey also support a population of elephants, Indochinese tigers, leopards, white rumpled falcons and Asian wild buffalo.
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 provide critical watershed and erosion control. Oddar Meanchey province is one of the driest regions in Cambodia. As a result, maintaining the integrity of the forested areas in Oddar Meanchey is critcal to protect watersheds. In addition, the deciduous, semi-evergreen and evergreen forests found in the project area exhibit a high degree of fire tolerance. The maintenance and protection of these areas by the project is essential to reducing the frequency and intensity of forest fires.
The project includes 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:
- Clarifying legal land tenure for local households
- Training/implementing sustainable farming practices to improve productivity
- Distributing fuel-efficient cook stoves to reduce health risks associated with indoor cooking
- Constructing wells and drinking water systems
- Providing employment through patrolling and tree planting
- Developing long-term sustainable land-use plans
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 also provides training to Community Forestry Groups to implement forest protection, Assisted Natural Regeneration operations in degraded forest areas and project management skills such as planning, budgeting, bookkeeping and reporting. In all approximately 260 patrollers will be employed from the 13 Community Forests along with 65 local community members undertaking ANR activities and 30 local community members undertaking Non-timber Forest Product development and agricultural intensification operations.
The Oddar Meanchey project received validation and verification under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) in September 2013, the first Community-based Mosaic REDD+ project in South East Asia to do so. Validation under the VCS, one of the most widely used and respected carbon standards, certifies that the project has undergone the most rigorous procedures for carbon accounting.
The Oddar Meanchey project received validation and verification under the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA), obtaining triple gold-level accreditation for emission reductions. CCBA Gold-level certification recognizes the critical co-benefits provided to communities and biodiversity by the Oddar Meanchey project.
About the Project Developer
Terra Global Capital
A global leader in development forest and agricultural carbon projects, Terra Global Capital specializes in community-based projects designed to generate investment-grade emissions reductions to the implementation of sustainable land-use management activities. Terra’s in-house, multidisciplinary team provides an end-to-end solution for the development of land use carbon projects of the highest quality.