Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cambodia protects floodplain grasslands sheltering rare birds

Environment News Service: The Cambodian government has decided to protect six of the largest remaining stretches of lowland grasslands in Southeast Asia. The six sites, one in Siem Reap province and five in Kampong Thom province, encompass about 77,000 acres (31,160 hectares).

The sites are located in and around Cambodia's Tonle Sap, Southeast Asia's largest freshwater lake. They contain unique seasonally flooded grasslands that form a refuge for many globally threatened birds.

The grasslands are a fishing, grazing, and deep water rice farming resource for local communities. While most of the sites have been partially protected by a provincial conservation order, they remained vulnerable to land-clearing and dam-building activities associated with large-scale commercial rice production. The new designations empower staff from Cambodia's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to prevent these activities.

The designation of the protected areas is the result of work done over the past four years by the Wildlife Conservation Society, based at New York's Bronx Zoo, in collaboration with Cambodia's Forestry and Fisheries Administration, local governments and community stakeholders….

Dwelling on the banks of Tonle Sap, shot by Jennifer Phoon, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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