This project will equip and train 50 Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN) members with smartphones to document forest crimes in the Prey Lang forest. Prey Lang is one of the last remaining large lowland forests in Cambodia. It is quickly shrinking due to widespread illegal logging. The PLCN will patrol the forest and document the location and details of the crime with the smartphones. They will use this data to advocate for forest protection on social media and at national and global events.
Deforestation rates in Cambodia is among the worst in the world and is threatening livelihoods and wildlife sanctuaries. According to the University of Maryland, Cambodia lost 13 ha (18 football fields) of forest every day in 2018. Despite its protected status, the Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary is shrinking as large companies and individuals clear-cut and sell its timber. Further loss of Prey Lang will threaten indigenous cultures and wildlife, disrupt watersheds, and further climate change.
In 2015, local communities created the Prey Lang Community Network (PLCN) to patrol and protect the forest. Already 85 members are using ICT tools to monitor and document illegal logging and wildlife poaching. This project will equip 50 more people with smartphones and an app to optimize data collection and boost community forest protection. All data (type of crime, photos, GPS coordinates, etc.) will be uploaded to a database, compiled, and analyzed for reports and evidence-based campaigns.
This project will help to inform the Cambodian government, public, and international community about the status of Prey Lang and the threats it faces. The results of the data collection will be shared with PLCN members, local monitors, government, and the public to inform future management decisions of Prey Lang. Finally, the project will also support and strengthen community-based forest management of forest resources in Prey Lang, thereby protecting its biodiversity and indigenous livelihoods.