Conservation groups have funded a $140,000 project in Bokor and Ream national parks that will take stock of plant life and provide additional equipment for park rangers.
“The project is to study species of plants and to train human resources,” acting Conservation Director Chay Samith said Wednesday at a press conference.
The International Union Conservation of Nature and the World Conservation Union provided funds to conduct plant surveys in the two southern parks. The 11-month project started last month and runs through August.
If successful, the project could bring $1 million in funding, Chay Samith said.
In addition to identifying and surveying plants, the project will assess the ecology in both parks.
Bokor is a 140,000-hectare park in Kampot province and Ream covers 150,000 hectares near Sihanoukville.
The funding comes as a European Commission-funded Support Program to the Environmental Sector in Cambodia ended a $600,000 management program to aid Bokor in September.
Since then, environmental officials claim 500 hectares of trees have been illegally felled to make way for more durian, rambutan and pineapple plantations.
Under the EC program, 25 park rangers were patrolling Bokor daily. Without the funds, they ran out of money for gasoline and had to cut back patrols.
Part of the new World Conservation funding will be used to provide equipment and pay salaries for park rangers.