Currently, the organisation focuses on three of Cambodia’s north-eastern provinces: namely Kratie, Steung Treng (along the Mekong and on the 14,600 ha Ramsar site No. 999), and Mondulkiri.
The projects’ target communities are selected in conjunction with conservation partners WWF and WCS to be areas of particular interest for conservation where biodiversity is threatened by livelihood activities and exploitation of natural resources.
Kratie province is located in the Northeast of Cambodia. The Mekong River flows from the north to the south of the province. The river is home to the Irrawaddy dolphins, fish, and birds. There are hundreds of seasonally flooded islands in this river. The province also contains many forests, mountain range, and rubber plantations. Eastern Kratie is an important bird area.
Kratie is known for its attractive riverside scenery and its green villages and paddies. Approximately 70% of the province’s residents live along the Mekong River; the area beyond the river is sparsely populated. Approximately 8% of the population is indigenous, and it is one of the four provinces with a substantial indigenous population. Seventy percent (70%) of the population is rural people who are subsistence farmers or fishers.
In the highly‐naturally resource dependent Mekong communities, CRDT support the conservation of dolphins, soft-shell turtles and giant stingrays by reducing the amount of time people spend fishing and educating against the use of indiscriminate fishing methods such as explosives, poison and gillnets. CRDT trains community members to become wardens for the environment, to protect wildlife to ensure a future income through tourism, and to protect fishery and forest resources for their children and grandchildren’s generation. Lately in 2012, the SHGs (Self Help Group) activity has been introduced to local communities who are seeking funding opportunities to develop their new business or to improve the existing livelihood activities.
In Kratie province, CRDT operates projects within the high priority conservation areas in collaboration with WWF. In 2013, CDRT has been implementing three projects in Kratie project site within 5 communes with 26 villages in Sambo District. The total direct beneficiaries were 1,147 persons and the indirect beneficiaries were 5,069 persons.
Stung Treng province is a remote and sparsely populated province in the northeast of Cambodia. It borders the provinces of Ratanakiri Province to the east, Mondulkiri Province and Kraties Province to the south and Kampong Thom Province and Preah Vihear Province to the west. Its northern boundary is Cambodia’s international border with Laos. The river crosses the province roughly through the center.
The province is divided into five district, 34 communes and 128 villages. Stung Treng is a unique province quite distinct from other Cambodian provinces in the Mekong basin. Extensive forests, intersecting rivers and streams and low population density characterize it. Stung Treng includes also the western chunk of the massive Virachey National Park, accessible from Siem Pang, a small beautiful town on the Tonle Kong. The province also features three big rivers the Tonle Kong, the Tonle San and the mighty Mekong with its hundreds of small islands scattered on the river stretch in Stung Treng Province.
The population of Stung Treng constitutes just 0.7% of Cambodia’s population. The population density is 7/km2, which is nine times less than the national density. As the population is low and the province is endowed with natural resources, the immigration rate is very high. In Stung Treng, about 79.4% of the population are involved in the agriculture sector. The last river dolphins (Irrawaddy) in the Mekong River are at the heart of an ambitious development programme to tackle poverty and attract tens of thousands of visitors to the province.
Just similar to its activities in Kratie porvince, in Stung Treng, CRDT operates projects within the high priority conservation area of Ramsar site in close collaboration with partner, WWF. In 2013, CDRT has been implementing 3 projects covering 21 villages in Ramsar Site. The projects focus on the increases in the benefits from livelihood activities and self help groups that enable farmers to reduce dependency on fishery and forestry resources and improve sanitation of the families through providing raining water collectors. Estimated Beneficiaries are 2285 local people including 1143 women at Ramsar site and 4275 beneficiaries included 2146 women.
Mondulkiri is an eastern province of Cambodia, which is the most sparsely populated province in the whole country although being the largest province in Cambodia. Being one of the biggest woodlands of Cambodia, the province is full of natural beauty, with thickly forested mountains, powerful waterfalls. It’s capital Sen Monorom is about 375 Km from Phnom Penh. It is bordering Vietnam to the East and South, Ratanakiri to the North, and Kratie province to the West.
There is up to 80% of the population in Mondulkiri made up of ten tribal minorities, with the majority of them being the Chunchiet from the tribe of the Bunong. The vast majority of the indigenous people (70%) living in Mondulkiri are subsistence farmers, who are planting some rice and other vegetables, more or less to feed themselves.
Unfortunately in the past 2 years the selling of real estate became a big source of income due to the fact, that international mining companies are buying land to find bauxite (a very valuable mineral). The worst are instances of dispossession of indigenous lands, which are occurring in some parts of the province. The growing deforestation especially due to the valuable minerals remaining in the deep red, fertile ground is threatening the natural resources and forests in Mondulkiri.
In Mondulkiri province, since 2006, CRDT has been working to reduce poverty and food insecurity for Ethnic Bunong communities in support of forest conservation. It supports on alternative livelihood development in Seima Protection Forest (SPF) complementing with Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) on land used planning and conservation activities. This area covers 298,250ha in Mondulkiri province home to the Bunong ethnic group who are subsistence rice—farmers. However, upland rice harvests are extremely insecure, and yields significantly lower than wetland rice crops (only 800kg—1 ton per hectare, compared to 1—3 tons per hectare in lowland areas) providing as little as 2 months’ food in lean years, and only 4—6 months’ security in average years. This results in the communities being heavily dependent upon the forest and surrounding habitat for their livelihoods, collecting Non—Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) such as resin, or trapping wildlife. Local populations are therefore extremely vulnerable to natural resource availability and natural disaster.
In 2013, CRDT has been working in 4 villages in the two project districts providing alternative, non—natural resource—based livelihoods (chicken raising, vegetable raising and fish raising) to 1708 people to offset the growing risks to the viability of these communities’ current natural resource based livelihood strategies.