In collaboration with Bagong Pagasa Foundation from the Philippines, GERES is promoting Assisted Natural Regeneration to the members of the community forests supported by its projects. Last September, the members of the community forestry sites of Bong Kong Kmom and Cheu Teal as well as the provincial staffs from the Forestry Administration of Pursat were trained to Assisted Natural Regeneration techniques on the field.
Biomass energy makes up 70 percent of Cambodia’s energy consumption, more than 90 percent of which – according to FloWood: A Study of Biomass Energy Demand Patterns in Cambodia undertaken by GERES from the middle of 2013 till end-2014 – is supplied by woodfuel (firewood and charcoal), representing 4.3 million tons (or 2 million ton oil equivalent) of Cambodia’s primary wood consumption annually.
The Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) Project by the United Nations Development Programme, Global Environment Facility, and Cambodia’s Forestry Administration supports the National Forest Programme’s goal to cover 2 million hectares in Cambodia with decentralized forest management. Aiming to strengthen community-based SFM in Community Forests (CFs) and Community Protected Areas (CPAs), the SFM project – among others – develops capacity of local communities to manage the CFs and CPAs in accordance to the management plans, and supports business development and profitable enterprise development in CFs and CPAs to generate employment and income for local communities, in select project areas around the Cardamom mountains in the provinces of Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Speu, Battambang and Pursat.
For six months, members of GERES’ monitoring & evaluation and research team and staff members of Mlup Baitong – a Cambodian NGO working to promote sustainable, equitable and just, rights-based use of natural resources – traced the flow of charcoal, starting from retailers in Phnom Penh all the way back to producer communities more than a hundred kilometers away and, ultimately, to the source of wood in forests on the Cardamom mountains.
Funded by the Global Forest Watch, the study had endeavored to bring the complex reality of charcoal production in Cambodia to light using scientific evidence, and in the process, developed a replicable methodology for local-level studies on the impact of charcoal on forests.
By Thomas Chaumont, Romain Joya and Silvia Pergetti August, 2013; updated by Neeraj Joshi February, 2014; updated by Silvia Pergetti October, 2014
Access to energy, as an inherent factor of growth, is intertwined with development. Scaling up the availability of affordable and efficient energy services is key to attain Cambodia’s development targets.
In 2012, Cambodia energy consumption amounted at 4.7 Mtoe, mainly attributed to the residential sector: domestic cooking represents 34% of the final energy demand, and household-scale businesses might account for another relevant portion of it. As of now, the industrial and transport sectors represent minor energy consumers, but they are both projected to grow exponentially in the coming years.
In order to meet the demand of Cambodian users, in 2012 Cambodia imported or extracted 5.5 Mtoe of primary energy sources. In particular, the strong need for biomass puts pressure on natural and forest resources.
Cambodia’s total energy consumption is projected to grow in the next decades. Current policies at national and international level aim at addressing energy poverty and creating preconditions for growth. In particular, hopes of policy-makers are set on hydropower. Given its importance, biomass energy remains at the core of policy-making efforts in Cambodia.