Washington, October 25 (ANI): The government of Cambodia has transformed a former logging concession into a new, Yosemite-sized protected area that safeguards not only threatened primates, tigers, and elephants, but also massive stores of carbon.
The Royal Government's Council of Ministers recently declared the creation of the Seima Protection Forest, which covers more than 1,100 square miles along Cambodia's eastern border with Vietnam.
"We commend the Royal Government of Cambodia for their decision to protect this important refuge for the region's wildlife and also for safeguarding stocks of carbon," said WCS Asia Program Director Colin Poole.
Seima is the first protected area in Cambodia created with the conservation of forest carbon as one of its key goals.
WCS is helping to measure carbon stocks contained in Seima Protection Forest to calculate the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions that will not be released to the atmosphere as a result of the project's work on reducing deforestation.
This effort will support WCS's "Carbon for Conservation" initiatives to help provide incentives to people to protect their forest in high-biodiversity landscapes, which are being developed in conjunction with negotiations on a proposed international policy known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD).
In addition to work in Cambodia, WCS is supporting similar efforts in Bolivia, Guatemala, Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Madagascar, and Indonesia.
"In addition to safeguarding the wildlife of Cambodia, Seima Protection Forest will serve as an important model for demonstrating how REDD could be implemented on the ground," said Dr. Jane Carter Ingram of WCS's Conservation Support Team.
"Forests provide numerous benefits for both wildlife and rural communities, so efforts such as these will help on local, regional and global scales," she added.
The newly designated protected area contains 23 species of carnivore, including seven cat species, two bears, and two species of wild dog. (ANI)