The progress of “Establishment of a High-Value Tree Species Breeding Center in Cambodia” in the second year
Forest germplasm resources hold significant importance as strategic assets for socioeconomic development, particularly in the face of growing demands brought on by the evolving social economy. However, rapid economic development in Cambodia poses a serious threat to these resources. To address this issue and develop a forest gene conservation strategy, APFNet has initiated the project "Establishment of a High-Value Tree Species Breeding Center in Cambodia." Now in its second year, the project is progressing smoothly and steadily.
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.
Construction progress of tree breeding centre (Photo: IRD)
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.
Tissue culture experiments in progress (Photo: IRD)

  Seedlings produced by seed in the tree nursery (Photo: IRD)
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.
Seed collection in Torb Chheang community forestry located in Koh Kong province (Photo: IRD)
The establishment of the forest genetic resource conservation garden initiated in August 2022, composed of valuable timber tree and economic fruit tree gardens, covering a total area of 12 hectares. A total of 7,710 seedlings of 9 valuable tree species were planted in an area of 9 ha in the garden. Additionally, 6 economic fruit trees were planted in a total area of 3ha. Associated facilities of the gardens were constructed, specifically the base entrance (40% completion), the main and branch roads (80% completion), drainage channels (70% completion), the water pond (100% completion), the visitor centres and public toilets (30% completion) and the flooding water pump station (100% completion). However, some construction activities have been postponed due to the pandemic and budget constraints.
Workers are planting seedlings (Photo: IRD)
Base entrance and the main road of the forest genetic resource conservation centre (Photo: IRD)
Maintenance activities of economic fruit trees and the valuable trees plantation (Photo: IRD)
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.
Replanting and maintenance of the economic fruit trees at the Eco-Forest Farm  (Photo: IRD)
Construction progress of the drainage channel and visitor centre at the Eco-Forest Farm (Photo: IRD)
Overall, throughout the second year of implementation, the project has made steady progress in alignment with the working plans, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and budget limitations. The project team remains committed to completing the main activities as outlined in the project documents. Given the current progress, it is anticipated that the project will achieve its objectives, even though some planned activities have been delayed and will need to be carried out in 2023.