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Forest Restoration Research Unit Facilitating Biodiversity Recovery in Cambodia

Establishing a research facility to select species and develop methods to restore forest in western Cambodia.

This Darwin-funded Post Project, jointly managed by RBG Kew and Wildlife Landscapes, UK, supported the Forestry Administration (FA) of Cambodia to build their capacity to use native species in forest restoration. The project initiated a Cambodian research programme based on the successful model developed by the Forest Restoration Research Unit, Chiang Mai University, Thailand (FORRU-CMU), using the ‘Framework Species Method’ of forest restoration.

A research facility was established on the boundary of Phnom Kulen National Park, in Banteay Srey District, Siem Reap Province, located in northwestern Cambodia, on the shores of the Tonle Sap lake. The facility includes a forest restoration research nursery, phenology trail in nearby remnant forest and trial plot system. FA staff and local villages were trained in forest restoration and research techniques by FORRU-CMU. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew provided training in seed handling and storage techniques and carried out laboratory testing to determine the desiccation tolerance and storage potential of selected species.

Research included: i) collection of phenology information to determine optimal seed collection times; ii) seed germination trials; iii) seedling growth trials in the nursery and; iv) tree performance monitoring after planting out in degraded areas. The methodologies followed for all these experiments were those developed under the previous Darwin Initiative project and published in “Research for Restoration Tropical Forest Ecosystems” (Khmer language edition). The main research findings amount to optimum methods to propagate and plant more than 50 indigenous forest tree species. Results from all experiments were integrated into a database system, which provides most of the information needed to grow and plant these indigenous forest tree species. The FA team were trained in the use and expansion of the database and, since key persons are in the Extension Division of the FA (responsible for outreach activities), they are in a good position to distribute the information and encourage its use.


Project lifespan: 2009-2011


International policies supported:

Project support to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD):
Article 8, In-situ Conservation: the project helped to develop Cambodia’s capacity to restore degraded ecosystems and recover threatened species.
Article 10, Sustainable Use of Components of Biological Diversity: the project provided information to support local populations to implement remedial actions to restore biological diversity.
Article 12, Research and Training: the project promoted research contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, particularly in developing countries (in accordance with SBSTTA recommendations).
Article 16, Technology transfer: the project promoted the transfer of the framework species methodology of forest restoration to Cambodia
Article 17, Information exchange: the project passed on information on research, forest restoration and seed handling and storage. The project generated new information on growing and planting native species for use in forest restoration, which will be distributed to end users in Cambodia.


Project partners and collaborators


Wildlife Landscapes


Forestry Administration


Forest Restoration Research Unit, Chiang Mai University

Project funders


Darwin Initiative


John Ellerman Foundation