Community Based Ecotourism in Cambodia

The tension between economic development and the sustainable management of forests, wildlife, and natural resources in the rural and protected areas of Southeast Asia is a momentous challenge.  Illegal logging, hunting, and clearing for farms threaten the species and the integrity of the forest ecosystems and watersheds. Illegal activities are caused both by poverty and by commercial exploitation of natural resources.  International demand for wildlife and wildlife products also contribute the destruction of biodiversity

To address the drivers of deforestation and the demand for wildlife on a local level, the Chi Phat and Trapeang Rung communities, with financial and technical assistant from Wildlife Alliance and its partners and donors, have initiated and developed Community Based Ecotourism (CBET) projects in both communities.  These CBET projects aim to provide villagers with economically and ecologically sustainable income opportunities from tourism and help them protect the biodiversity and natural resources of their region against illegal logging, wildlife poaching, and land encroachment, while providing tourists with a unique green adventure in some rarely visited rural villages in the Southern Cardamoms.

This project was developed in a participatory process engaging the whole community.  The pros and cons of ecotourism were discussed with the communities and ideas were shared among stakeholders, consultants, and communities.  Once agreement was reached on proceeding forward, the goal, objectives, vision, products, and rules and regulations were developed by the communities.

The CBET projects are led by the democratically elected CBET committees composed of active community members, with consultation and support of different experts and stakeholders.

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