Examining trajectories of change for prosperous forest landscapes in Cambodia

Riggs, Rebecca Anne, Langston, James Douglas, Beauchamp, Emilie, Travers, Henry, Ken, Sereyrotha, and Margules, Chris (2020) Examining trajectories of change for prosperous forest landscapes in Cambodia. Environmental Management, 66. pp. 72-90.

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Abstract

Tropical forest landscapes are undergoing rapid transition. Rural development aspirations are rising, and land use change is contributing to deforestation, degradation, and biodiversity loss, which threaten the future of tropical forests. Conservation initiatives must deal with complex social, political, and ecological decisions involving trade-offs between the extent of protected areas and quality of conservation. In Cambodia, smallholders and industrial economic land concessions drive deforestation and forest degradation. Rural economic benefits have not kept pace with development aspirations and smallholders are gradually expanding agriculture into protected forests. We examine the drivers and effects of rural forest landscape transitions in Cambodia to identify trade-offs between conservation and development. Using historical trends analysis and information gathered through key informant interviews, we describe how local communities perceive social and ecological changes, and examine the implications of local development aspirations for conservation. We explore three scenarios for the future of conservation in Cambodia, each with different conservation and community development outcomes. We contend that conservation efforts should focus on strengthening governance to meet social and environmental requirements for sustainable forest landscapes. We suggest potential entry points for governance improvements, including working with local decision-makers and fostering collaboration between stakeholders. There is a need for realistic priority setting in contested tropical forest landscapes. Prosperous rural economies are a necessary but not sufficient condition for conservation.

Item ID: 63085
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-1009
Keywords: Landscape transitions, Conservation development trade-offs, Transdisciplinary research, Cambodia, Scenarios
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Copyright Information: © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020.
Additional Information:

A version of this publication was included as Chapter 2 of the following PhD thesis: Riggs, Rebecca Anne (2020) Governing landscape transitions in Cambodia. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Date Deposited: 13 May 2020 07:40
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410401 Conservation and biodiversity @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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