The government on Monday signed a $1.5-million deal with Conservation International and the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation to study the potential for a carbon trading project involving the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary, part of the largest remaining lowland evergreen forest in Southeast Asia.
If successful, the Japanese bank will start buying carbon credits from Cambodia in 2020 based on how much projected forest loss—and, in effect, carbon emissions—it can prevent in the northeast corner of the sanctuary, located in Stung Treng province.
Environment Ministry spokes- man Sao Sopheap said on Tuesday that the bank and the U.S.-based conservation group would split the cost of the three-year study, but added that it was too early to tell how much money an actual carbon trading scheme in the area could earn.
The government created the 432,000-hectare sanctuary last year, after years of lobbying by NGOs and local communities worried that illegal logging was threatening the forest’s survival.
Chea Sok Hoeun, who has joined village forest patrols as a member of the Prey Lang Community Network, was hopeful that a successful carbon trading project could help preserve the sanctuary known for its birds, wildlife and biodiversity.
“The…project will help to stop people illegally logging and clearing the forest because local authorities will care strongly about conserving Prey Lang,” he said.
The government made its first forest-based carbon credit sale in July, a $2.6-million deal with The Walt Disney Company for preserving part of the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondolkiri province.