Peace Bridges will partner with Buddhist monks, a local forest group, and Christian pastors to organize tree plantings in their villages and community forests. This is a unique opportunity for Cambodians of all faiths and backgrounds to cooperate and restore areas that have been deforested. The goals of this project are to plant 5,000 native trees, engage and educate youth and faith groups about the environment, and mitigate the global threat of climate change. Timeline contingent on COVID-19.
Cambodia's forests continue to shrink at alarming rates. A combination of corruption, illegal land grabs, and lack of political will to stop it has caused widespread deforestation across the country. Much of the deforestation occurs in protected areas. The effects of deforestation are catastrophic -- loss of biodiversity, worsening droughts, increased temperatures, and climate change. It has destroyed rural livelihoods, forcing people to migrate to cities to find low-paying work.
This project will partner with three groups to plant 5,000 thousand native trees in their community forests. These include a Monk Forest in Oddar Meanchey province, Prambei Mom Community Forest in Kampong Speu, and several churches in Prey Veng. Partnering with local groups will help engage more people and demonstrate how conservation is compatible with traditional customs. For example, the monks will hold tree blessing ceremonies to protect them from loggers. (COVID19 lockdowns may delay this.)
Many Cambodians love the forest and want to protect it. This project will engage and empower Cambodians to plant trees and raise awareness among their respective communities. This will help to restore two community forests and villages that suffer from deforestation. The project will also focus on raising awareness about climate change, the need for community peace and cooperation, and the importance of protecting forests for future generations.