Carbon deal a windfall for wildlife

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A Wildlife Alliance official (left) and a government officer shake hands at yesterday’s meeting. Supplied

The Environment Ministry signed an agreement yesterday which will let the government sell carbon credits and plow the money into conservation at the Southern Cardamom National Park and Tatai Wildlife Sanctuary.
 
The 460,000-hectare forest in Koh Kong province is home to all of Cambodia’s endangered mammals, the Asian elephant, Indochinese tiger, clouded leopard, Asiatic black bear, Malayan sun bear, the humpback dolphin and the Irrawaddy dolphin.
 
It is also home to the critically endangered Siamese crocodile, which was previously thought to be extinct.
 
The agreement with the Wildlife Alliance (WA) will support the REDD+ project in the park and sanctuary.
 
REDD+, which stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, was created by the UN to quantify and put value to carbon storage services provided by forests.
 
This deal will allow the government to sell carbon credits from the Southern Cardamom which will be channeled to the conservation of the national park, which is deemed the second-largest contiguous rainforest in Southeast Asia.
 
The WA, founded in 1995 as the Global Survival Network, is an international non-profit organization.
 
“REDD+ in the Cardamoms landscape will be the third effort in establishing sustainable financing support for the protection and conservation of forests in Cambodia,” Environment Minister Say Samal said yesterday.
 
“It proves that Cambodia is ready for performance-based payment in the climate change mitigation framework.”
 
The project started with the government seeking WA’s assistance in 2002 after a transnational freeway cut through 155 kilometers of the forest, leaving previously undisturbed wildlife vulnerable to land grabbers, illegal loggers and poachers.

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