Forty concrete posts have been placed at key locations along the boundary of Phnom Tbeng Natural Heritage Park in Preah Vihear province, paving the way for rangers to patrol the park and enforce forestry and wildlife protection laws.
The work was conducted by officials from the provincial department of environment, local communities and the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Ea Sokha, director of the Preah Vihear provincial department of environment, said yesterday that the park was a historical and cultural site that people in Preah Vihear and throughout Cambodia regarded as a spiritual place with considerable eco-tourism potential.
Many people visit Phnom Tbeng to pay their respects, pray and enjoy the environment, he added.
“The completion of the demarcation exercise is a first step in establishing conservation management of the area. It will ensure communities fully understand where the protected area boundary is located and provide a basis for planning effective ranger patrols,” Mr Sokha said.
PTNHP covers 25,269 hectares and has a general elevation of about 400 metres. It was established in 2016. The park forms a key component of the upper watershed of the Stung Sen River, a tributary of the Tonle Sap lake.
“Transportation, especially to install the concrete poles in PTNHP was particularly difficult because the area is mountainous, but through teamwork and coordination we successfully achieved our goal, as planned,” Mr Sokha added.
A WCS press release said the boundary demarcation exercise, supported by the Rainforest Trust, was conducted alongside a community engagement and consultation process.
Engaging communities on issues concerning the protected area has provided an important opportunity to build awareness and ensure support for future conservation activities, it said.
Chris Hamley, WCS’s landscape technical adviser for the Northern Plains of Cambodia, said the Phnom Tbeng plateau and forests acted as a “water tower”, performing a vital role in watershed protection and the prevention of natural disasters such as landslides.
“Ensuring the long-term management of this conservation area and its biodiversity will have significant socio-economic value for local communities and future generations,” he said.
PTNHP contains some of the last remaining evergreen and semi-evergreen forest habitats in northern Cambodia and is of high importance for wildlife conservation and provision of ecosystem services.
Numerous wildlife species including the pileated gibbon, bears and the Indochinese silvered langur are known to exist in the forests.