Central Cardamom Mountains National Park, Cambodia

Country Cambodia, Kindom of
Established 2002
Region Cardamom Mountains Rainforest Landscape
IUCN Category National Park (CAT. II)
Project Size 4,010 km²
Population 40,000
Biome Tropical rainforest
Key Species Asian elephant, Asiatic black bear, clouded leopard, pileated gibbon
Conservation Relevance Key Biodiversity Area
Managing Authority General Department of Administration for Nature Conservation and Protection of the Cambodian Ministry of Environment
Partner Conservation International
Funding Partner To be concluded
Cambodia’s First Protected Area

Legacy Landscapes Fund Project Candidate | Status 05/2021

The Central Cardamom Mountains National Park is Cambodia’s first designated protected area. It is situated in South East Cambodia at the center of the Cardamom Mountains Rainforest Landscape, the largest wilderness area in mainland Southeast Asia, covering more than 10,000 km².

Over 96 percent of the national park is intact, as its forest cover suffered only low levels of deforestation compared to surrounding forest areas. Consequently, Central Cardamom Mountains National Park provides critical habitats to over 400 vertebrate species, 70 fish species, and over 200 plant species, many of which are endemic to this region. Additionally, the park functions as a vital watershed in Cambodia, accounting for an estimated 30% of the dry season freshwater flows to the Tonle Sap Lake, Southeast Asia’s most important inland fishery.

Widespread poverty among local communities is a main driver for increased pressure on the park, such as the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources. For this reason, livelihood programs for local communities are a key focus area of the park management and its international and national partners. Long-term conservation efforts are needed, given that Cambodia is ranked as one of the countries most vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

Key Threats

  • Inadequate funding for conservation efforts
  • Accelerating exploitation of natural resources
  • Illegal logging and poaching

Key Activities

  • Improve protected area management capabilities
  • Collaborate with local communities in protected area management and expand livelihood opportunities
  • Reduce drivers of deforestation and conserve key species

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© David Emmet / Conservation International
© David Emmet / Conservation International