Building capacity for conservation in Bokor National Park, Cambodia

Chhin Sophea

Although a large, nationally protected area and IBA, little is known about the biodiversity of Bokor National Park in south-west Cambodia, though the site is believed to have suffered less from habitat loss and degradation compared to nearby sites in the Cardamom Mountains. This is set to change, however, as a major concession has been granted within the park boundaries in advance of conservation zoning processes or information to guide site selection and development activities. This issue is compounded by a lack of capacity among national park staff to undertake conservation activities. Our goal is to promote long-term conservation of priority habitats for populations of globally threatened and data-deficient species at Bokor through development of Cambodian capacity and improved strategies for site management. We plan to achieve this by: a) Undertaking targeted conservation assessments to identify key areas for biodiversity with the assistance of park authorities and mentoring from specialists; b) Developing the scientific capacity of the project team through practical experience gained in conducting the research and analysing and reporting its findings; and, c) Strengthening awareness and local capacity to meet the conservation management needs of priority habitats and species at the site.