The project consists of four primary components:
1. Constructing a high-value tree breeding centre on the Institute of Forest and Wildlife Research and Development (IRD) campus in Phnom Penh. This centre will include a tissue culture and diagnostic lab, a greenhouse, and related equipment.
2. Establishing a 100-hectare forest genetic resource conservation garden of valuable trees at the IRD research station in Siem Reap (Chan Sor restoration site).
3. Developing a 20-hectare eco-forest farm at the IRD research station in Siem Reap.
4. Conducting capacity-building activities, including research and plantation training.
Upon completion, the project will support the conservation of valuable tree species in the demonstration area and serve as ex-situ seedbanks for other endangered plant resources in Cambodia. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was restricted to primarily focusing on collecting valuable tree germplasm resources, producing seedlings through asexual and seed methods, planting high-value tree species and fruit trees in the forest genetic resource conservation garden and the eco-forest farm, and maintaining the economic timber trees and fruit trees that have already been planted.
The Tree Breeding Center
As of the first quarter of 2023, the tree breeding centre's construction is approximately 50% complete, including the foundation, structural framework, wall and roof of the building.
In terms of progress on the tree breeding itself, the project also involves producing seedlings by asexual methods for four valuable tree species and by seed method for others. In-depth research into and development of tissue culture technology is being conducted by Yunnan Academy of Forestry and Grassland (YAFG) for species such as Afzelia xylocarpa, Dalbergia oliveri, Dalbergia cochinchinensis, Pterocarpus marcropapus, Sindora cochinchinensis, Altingia excelsa and Santalum album. To date, a total of 26,324 seedlings of 22 valuable tree species have been produced by seed and are ready for planting in June or July 2023. The results of the current research will be fully applied to wider Cambodia after the construction of the tree breeding centre has been completed.
The Forest Genetic Resource Conservation Garden
A total of 100 species of valuable tree genetic resources are planned to be collected during the project period to establish a forest genetic resource conservation garden. These include precious tropical tree species, endangered species, traditional species, and those with special purposes such as medicinal, spice, and forest vegetable tree species, of which 50 species are planned to be collected in the second year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project team has so far only collected 16 species of valuable tree genetic resources from four different provinces in Cambodia.
The Eco Forest Farm
Eco-forest farm activities primarily concentrate on the maintenance of economically valuable trees and the replanting of 386 economic fruit trees that perished during the first year. Progress has been made on constructing several accessory facilities, including the main road, boundary road, and branch road, which are approximately 60% completed. The drainage channel is about 50% finished, while the visitor centre has reached 30% completion, and the floodwater pump station is now fully operational.