Establishment of a High Value Tree Species Breeding Center in Cambodia 

Project title: Establishment of high value tree species breeding centre in Cambodia [Project ID: 2019P3-CAM]
Supervision agency: Forestry Administration (FA) of Cambodia
Executing agency: Institute of Forest and Wildlife Research and Development (IRD) (Cambodia)
Technical support agency: Yunnan Academy of Forestry and Grassland, China (YAFG)
Budget in USD (total/APFNet grant): 6,860,904.4/5,492,584.4
Duration: January 2020–December 2027
Target economy: Cambodia
Location: Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Objectives: Conserve and develop genetic resources of valuable tree species in Cambodia through germplasm resources collection, propagation and plantation of valuable tree species; Enhance the capacity and knowledge of local government staff and foresters through capacity building programmes; Promote natural resources conservation and reduce community dependence on forests by providing alternative livelihoods, including the establishment of an eco-farm and other rural economic development; Disseminate and promote project experiences and lessons through publications, leaflets, posters, videos and the internet to sustain and extend management activities, after the project is over.
Expected outputs: Construction of a tree breeding centre; Establishment of a greenhouse, tissue-culture and diagnostic laboratory; Collection of valuable tree germplasm resources of Cambodia; Cultivation of seedlings of high value tree species in Siem Reap; Establishment of a forest genetic conservation garden of valuable tree species; Conduct ten local training sessions on seedling cultivation and afforestation technology; Conduct international training; Construction of a demonstration site for a 20-ha sustainable eco-forest farm as an alternative community livelihood for 10 farmers; Publication of a book, Major Indigenous Valuable Timber Tree Species in Cambodia; Dissemination of best practices and lessons learned. 

Project background
In the 1960s, Cambodia had rich forestry resources with 13.2 million ha of forests covered 73.04 percent of the economy land area. In 2015, forest cover has decreased to 54.48 percent and most forests are now fragmented. Many indigenous tree species, especially valuable timber species, continue to be exploited and are listed as vulnerable or endangered. Tackling these threats requires both the scientific conservation of biological resources and support for local communities to reduce their dependence on forest resources.
In recognition of these needs, a cooperation framework agreement was signed between the previous director of the State Forestry Administration (now the National Forestry and Grassland Administration) of the People’s Republic of China, Zhang Jianlong, and the minister of the Cambodian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Veng Sakhon, under witness of the Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, Li Keqiang, and the Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen, in January 2018.
Coordinated by APFNet and executed by Cambodia’s Institute of Forest and Wildlife Research and Development (IRD), a new project ‘Establishment of a high value tree species breeding centre’ will support efforts in conserving and developing the genetic resources of rare and endangered tree species in Cambodia. It will also enhance the capacity of Cambodian foresters and promote sustainable economic development in rural areas. The centre will serve as an ex-situ seedbank of endangered plant resources in Cambodia.
This is an eight-year project from January 2020 to December 2027 with a total budget of USD 6,860,904 (USD 5,492,584 granted by APFNet). Project sites are mainly located in Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh, and Siem Reap.

Project featured topics
Building a breeding centre in Phnom Penh and garden in Siem Reap
Germplasm is the vital genetic resources of life, such as the tissues of animals or seeds of plants. A tree breeding centre can serve as a shelter for valuable forest genetic resources, seriously threatened by rapid economic development in Cambodia.
A tree species breeding centre (1,755 m2) will be built on the IRD campus in Phnom Penh. The centre includes a greenhouse nursery (806 m2) and an administration building (480 m2 ) with a tissue culture laboratory and auxiliary facilities.
A 100-ha forest genetic resources conservation garden will also be established in the IRD research station in Siem Reap to demonstrate sustainable forest management, using seedlings of rare and valuable species cultivated in the breeding centre. These facilities will strengthen the scientific research capability of IRD on tissue culture, pathogen screening/diagnosis and ex-situ cultivation and conservation.

Establishing an eco-forest farm to practice agroforestry and improve local livelihoods

The establishment of a 20-ha eco-forest farm near IRD’s forest station in Siem Reap will improve local livelihoods and showcase sustainable land management. The farm will adopt agroforestry principles and sustainable land management practices including multistory cropping where fruit and vegetables are planted to utilize maximal vertical space; integrated farming that combines fish farms, crops, livestock, composting and biogas; and soil conservation measures such as mulching and organic farming.
It will also be a rural eco-tourism destination. The project team will assist local communities in construction of lodges, tourism training and other infrastructure development. Income generated through visitor accommodation and entrance fees and the sale of produce will be shared among the farmer cooperative.

Training and sharing knowledge

Sharing project results and knowledge will help ensure the sustainability of the project and demonstrate effectiveness. The project will build the capacity of Cambodian forestry officials, researchers, students and local community members. Ten training sessions will be held over eight years to share expertise on ex-situ conservation, integrated afforestation techniques and forest management.
The project team will also cooperate with the Royal University of Agriculture to publish research papers on valuable tree species germplasm, effective propagation and plantation as well as posters, videos and technical manuals. A book, Major Indigenous Valuable Timber Tree Species, will be published in Chinese, English and Khmer to outline Cambodia’s forest types, seedling production, and plantation management and the biological and ecological characters, distribution and utilization of major valuable tree species in Cambodia.