Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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Merklinger F.F.,Singapore Botanic Gardens | Chhang P.,Forestry Administration | Wong K.M.,Singapore Botanic Gardens
Phytotaxa | Year: 2017

Schizostachyum cambodianum is a new species of woody bamboo from the Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia. It is instantly recognized by a very large suborbicular projection at the base of the culm sheath. The only other bamboos which are known to consistently show such similar suborbicular projections are the Chinese species Schizostachyum hainanense, S. auriculatum, and S. dumetorum. In these species, however, the projections are less than one cm wide, whereas in S. cambodianum, it is particularly impressive, developing to about 3 cm wide. S. cambodianum can further be distinguished from its Chinese relatives by forming lax clumps due to its long-necked rhizomes and largely glabrous culm sheaths with only scattered pale hairs. © 2017 Magnolia Press.


Chheng K.,Forestry Administration | Mizoue N.,Kyushu University | Mizoue N.,University of British Columbia | Khorn S.,Forestry Administration | And 3 more authors.
Forest Ecology and Management | Year: 2015

Logging damage to residual trees is one of the fundamental components in evaluating the sustainability of tropical selective logging in terms of timber production, carbon retention and biodiversity conservation. Although many studies have taken an area-based approach to tropical rain forests, we adopted a tree-based approach to quantify the dependence of residual tree damage on the size of residual and felled trees. We used data from 179 plots, each 25. m. ×. 40. m, covering the stump and crown of one felled tree in Cambodian tropical semi-evergreen forests. We used the mixed-effects multinomial logistic regression model to predict the probability of a residual tree sustaining severe, slight or no damage. Increasing size of residual trees decreased the probability of severe damage and increased that of slight damage. The probability of total damage (severe plus slight) was nearly constant, regardless of the size of residual trees. Increasing size of the felled tree caused greater probability of severe damage, but did not influence the probability of slight damage. Interestingly, our prediction of total damage rate from the tree-based modeling approach of the Cambodian semi-evergreen forests is very consistent with the findings of previous studies using the area-based approach in Indonesia. The departure of our study results from those of other studies may be explained by differences in felled tree size and terrain slope. The inclusion of tree-size dependence in logging damage estimation would increase its accuracy and comparability across different types of tropical forests. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


News Article | September 13, 2016
Site: phys.org

Every morning, with the dawn light shimmering on their patchy coats the young residents of a panda breeding centre in southwestern China shred their favourite breakfast—bamboo. The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding was set up in 1987 when the animals were considered to be under increasing threat of extinction—a catastrophic scenario that seems to have been avoided for now. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) last week reclassified the giant panda from "endangered" to "vulnerable" on its "Red List" of threatened species. There were 1,864 adult giant pandas in the wild in China in 2014, a 17 percent increase in 10 years, according to the IUCN. "It is a positive message, it's not all gloom and doom," said James Ayala, a researcher at the base, in Sichuan province. "But I still think it is too early to consider it a true success... we're not in the clear yet. "It's like if your great grandma gets out of intensive care, you don't celebrate, she's still very old, very weak, and the chance of seeing her back in care is very likely." The IUCN's general criteria are less applicable to pandas, he said, as their wholly bamboo diet means their survival is totally dependent on habitat, and climate change poses a huge threat. Zhang Hemin, of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP), also in Sichuan, called the IUCN's reclassification "premature". The wild giant panda population is split into 33 different groups, 18 of them consisting of fewer than a dozen pandas, leaving them at "high risk of collapse", according to Zhang. Their separation also raises the risks of inbreeding, hence the importance of captive breeding programmes, which often use artificial insemination—pandas are renowned for their sexual apathy. Known as Papa Panda in China, Zhang runs an ultra-modern "panda hospital", home to Pan Pan, who at 31—equivalent to 100 in human years—is regarded as the oldest panda living in captivity and has sired at least 130 descendants. China has around 420 pandas in captivity, according to official figures, and the Chengdu Research Base has seen more than 200 births in total, with over 20 so far this year. Some of the cubs are then sent on to zoos overseas—a lucrative earner for authorities, who rent the animals out rather than giving them away. "A target goal for us will be to have a large number of captive pandas to maintain genetic diversity so we could release them into the wild," Ayala said. Beforehand, the animals are trained to recognise predators and socialise with their peers, but he acknowledged only seven to 10 pandas have been freed in a decade, saying the process is fraught with difficulty. The animals raised in captivity "aren't ready to be released", said Yang Fuqiang, senior advisor at environmental NGO the Natural Resources Defense Council, adding: "We are far from understanding the behaviour and characteristics of pandas." Moreover their bamboo forest habitat shrank dramatically during the last century as China developed economically. Bamboo reserves were first established in China only in 1992, and there are now 67, protecting nearly 70 percent of the 1.4 million hectares of wild bamboo forest, according to the Forestry Administration. But with global warming, more than a third of bamboo forests could disappear within 80 years, the IUCN warns. The plant itself can be a risk factor, with most of its species having a life cycle that sees them flowering and dying off every 20 to 40 years —and they can take years to start regrowing. "Each time this happens, the population is extremely vulnerable because the pandas can't find any food," said Ayala. The Chengdu facility was itself set up after around 250 giant pandas starved to death in the mountains of Sichuan in the 1970s and 80s, when he said that "researchers found pandas emaciated, walking like zombies". "The priority should always be to focus on improving the habitat for the wild animals and expand it," said Ayala. "If we don't do this, then there is no point in conserving the giant panda." Explore further: Largest genetic survey to date shows major success of giant panda breeding programs


News Article | March 22, 2016
Site: phys.org

Imports of all ivory and ivory products acquired before 1975 will be banned until the end of the decade, the State Forestry Administration said on its website. The measure came into force on Sunday. It also extended until the same date existing bans on imports of African ivory carvings acquired after 1975, and all ivory hunting trophies. China is seen as the major source of demand for African ivory, with prices for a kilogram (2.2 pounds) reaching as much as $1,100. Conservationists estimate that more than 20,000 elephants were killed for their ivory last year, with similar tolls in previous years. The WWF campaign group says 470,000 of the animals remain. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) took effect in 1975. It banned the ivory trade in 1989. Like other countries, China permits the resale of ivory bought before the 1989 ban—and also has a stockpile purchased with CITES approval in 2008, which it releases for sale with certification. Activists say the trade in legal ivory acts as a cover for illegal imports and call for a complete ban on sales. The issue came up during President Xi Jinping's state visit to the US last year, when the White House said in a statement that the two countries "commit to enact nearly complete bans on ivory import and export". The measures would include "significant and timely" restrictions on hunting trophy imports and steps to halt domestic commercial ivory trade, the statement added. Beijing imposed a temporary ban on imports of ivory carvings last year, but campaigners described the move as more symbolic than effective. The Chinese territory of Hong Kong - a key hub for the trade—said in January it would tighten restrictions on ivory imports and exports including a ban on trade in hunting trophies, but did not give a clear timescale. China's newly extended import bans do not outlaw its existing domestic trade, and appear to potentially allow imports of some raw ivory dating from after 1975. The State Forestry Administration said imports of ivory artefacts for "teaching and scientific research, cultural exchange, public display and law enforcement" purposes were not covered by the extended ban. Experts say most illegal ivory is headed for China, where it is seen as a status symbol. By some estimates the country accounts for as much as 70 percent of global demand. Underlining the scale of the trade, state media reported Monday that police in south China's Guangdong province seized about 450 kilograms of smuggled ivory in a raid earlier this month. Explore further: China bans ivory carving imports for one year


Langner A.,Japan Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute | Hirata Y.,Japan Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute | Saito H.,Japan Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute | Sokh H.,Forestry Administration | And 4 more authors.
Remote Sensing of Environment | Year: 2014

As cloud cover exacerbates the application of optical satellite data for forest monitoring in tropical wet and dry regions during the rainy season, data acquisition is mainly restricted to the dry season. When analyzing wide areas, large numbers of single scenes obtained at different times of the dry season are often handled. Such imagery is characterized by changes of spectral reflectance due to vegetation phenology, varying atmospheric effects and solar geometries. In order to allow batch processing with automatic classification techniques, inter-scene comparability is required and data have to be radiometrically normalized. Cambodia is characterized by a mixture of evergreen, semi-evergreen and deciduous forest types, the latter two experiencing at least partial leaf shedding over the course of the dry season. Using spatial medium resolution SPOT 4 data and a manually delineated base map a season adjustment model was developed. The model is adapting the land cover specific spectral signatures of a slave scene (acquired in the middle of the dry season with its seasonal forests defoliated) to an adjacent master scene (from the beginning of the dry season, showing the same forest types with leafs). The relative position of every pixel reflectance was determined in relation to the mean reflectance and its standard deviation for each land cover type and sensor band of the unadjusted slave scene. For seasonality adjustment these pixel reflectance values were transformed (rescaled) to the corresponding position in spectral space defined by the band mean reflectance and standard deviation derived from the corresponding land cover class of the master scene. While the variability of spectral profiles of the pixels in the slave scene is rescaled, the mean reflectance value of the land cover class in the slave scene is conformed to the mean reflectance of the corresponding land cover class in the master scene. The Transformed Divergence (TD) separability index was used to indicate the performance of the adjustment process by characterizing the spectral distance for each land cover type comparing a reference dataset to the uncorrected and to the seasonality corrected scene respectively. While the TD values of all forest types showed a sharp decline, highlighting the good performance of the model, the TD values of the agriculture/urban class remained high, indicating limited normalization of this heterogeneous land cover type. In order to further demonstrate the performance of the model, an object-based land cover classification was applied to the unadjusted as well as to the corresponding adjusted scene. A comparison of the results showed a highly significant improvement of overall accuracy from 32.2% to 75.8% when applying seasonality adjustment. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


News Article | December 13, 2016
Site: www.theguardian.com

China is set to announce when it will close its legal ivory carving factories, 18 months after pledging to act. Last year, the world’s largest market for both legal and illegal ivory said it would shut down commercial sales within the country. But did not set a timeline. At the time, conservationists described the announcement as the “single greatest measure” in the fight to save elephants from poaching. Wildlife advocates have since urged Beijing to get on with the job. “The preparation for the domestic ivory trade ban is under way in China,” Zhou Fei, head of the China programme at wildlife trade watchdog Traffic, told the Guardian. “According to our information, most of the legal ivory vendors are developing alternative business. The ivory price of both legal and illegal ivory products dropped.” Legal ivory carvers in China use tusks imported during one-off, sanctioned sales from Africa. Advocates for the total ban believe it will discourage local demand for black market ivory and shut off smugglers’ attempts to launder poached tusks into legal markets. In a bilateral announcement with the US in July, China pledged to set a timeline for the phase out of its market by the end of this year. WildAid’s executive director Peter Knights told the Guardian that he believed the government would honour that pledge. “I think the Chinese government is serious about shutting down the domestic market in ivory in China,” Wildlife Conservation Society ivory trade policy analyst Simon Hedges told a Guardian Q&A last week. “Our government is serious upon any promise made to the world,” said Wei Ji, an independent wildlife researcher who does consulting work for China’s largest environmental NGO. Ivory carving is designated as “intangible cultural heritage” in China. The government wants to make the transition easy on those who make a living carving and selling ivory from existing legal stockpiles. The State Forestry Administration, which manages the ivory trade, has completed a feasibility study in which it interviewed many of the legal traders. But the results will not be made public. Wei said: “There is not much resistance from the Chinese public, because the legal market in China is relatively small. Only 34 manufacturers and 130 retailer shops are licensed.” But Isabel Hilton, founder of the chinadialogue website, told the Guardian Q&A that the signal from the top of the Chinese government may not be as influential or effective as some campaigners believe. “China often resists legislation for as long as possible, then acts when the diplomatic costs become too high. But that is not the same as effective enforcement. China is a very big country, Beijing’s reach is less effective than many outsiders imagine, and enforcement may not be a priority,” said Hilton. The US state department has made strong representations to China to secure the commitment to shut down its local trade. With the US following China’s lead this year and adopting a near total ban on the trade. But conservationists have raised concerns that Europe’s expanding international ivory exports may undermine the diplomatic pressure for China to implement and police the shut down in a robust way. “There is a concern among the western world that the longer that China leaves telling us how it’s going to implement its plan, there is an increased danger that they might dilute the legislation that they were going to introduce, said Tusk CEO Charlie Mayhew. “And there is a concern that the lack of momentum from Europe, and in particular the UK, could provide them with an argument as to why they don’t need to fully implement their plan,” he said. Europe is the biggest legal exporter of ivory on earth. The number of tusks sold from member states jumped significantly in recent years. Traffic analysis of the international trade database showed that the EU exported more than 300 raw tusks in 2013 and 2014. The EU has only ever sent more than 100 tusks offshore once in the past decade. Chinese and Hong Kong buyers were the recipients of 92% of the tusks. The data also shows shipments of ivory carvings also jumped in recent years. Conservationists have also criticised the UK for allowing antique ivory sales to continue. Following his two-part BBC documentary on the ivory trade, environmental campaigner and celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall called for the EU to cease its ivory exports. “There are now rumours that China might be backtracking, and that this may be partly because it is just not seeing international solidarity on this issue,” he told the Guardian. “It really seems as if China is now saying, maybe we’re not in such a hurry to do this, because the UK and other EU countries seem to be quite happy to sell their ivory to us.” A petition on the UK government website calling for the closure of the domestic ivory market in the UK has already got nearly 80,000 signatures and a parliamentary debate will be triggered when it hits 100,000. At a recent wildlife trade convention meeting in South Africa, the EU voted as a bloc and helped defeat a motion to put the African elephant on the highest level of protection. The move was also opposed by some southern African countries where elephants are in their highest numbers, said Wei. “I think the international environment is at the moment the biggest challenge for China to take further action,” he said. “Although I have no idea of what and when the final decision of our government towards domestic market would be, the decision would come out and would most probably respect the will of the majority of the world and take different voices from range states seriously into consideration.”


Sasaki N.,University of Hyogo | Chheng K.,Forestry Administration | Ty S.,Ministry of Agriculture
Environmental Science and Policy | Year: 2012

Sustainable forest management (SFM) ensures the continuous flow of wood products and employment while improving the functionalities of forests as compared to conventional management. Until recently, many projects associated with the reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) scheme focused only on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation of carbon stocks, or enhancement of forest carbon stocks. REDD+ is an extension of REDD that also includes, SFM, conservation of carbon stocks, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. REDD+ projects concerned with securing timber production while reducing emissions are very few in number. In this report, we discuss how SFM through the adoption of appropriate logging practices can lead to a reduction in carbon emissions while securing timber in the tropics. Logging practices affect timber production, the structure of forests, and forest-dependent communities because of damages caused by logging itself and the large amounts of logging and wood wastes. By switching from conventional logging to reduced-impact logging practices, International Tropical Timber Organization producer countries could reduce carbon emissions by about 1.5-2.1billion tCO 2year -1 while still producing about 164.9-280.8million m 3 of end-use wood under a 50-year project cycle, with the results being dependent on the chosen scenario. Study results suggest that a policy of reduced-impact logging combined with a 40-year or longer cutting cycle is appropriate for SFM projects as part of the REDD+ scheme. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Toyama H.,Kyushu University | Kajisa T.,Kyushu University | Tagane S.,Kyushu University | Mase K.,Kyushu University | And 8 more authors.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2015

Ecological communities including tropical rainforest are rapidly changing under various disturbances caused by increasing human activities. Recently in Cambodia, illegal logging and clear-felling for agriculture have been increasing. Here, we study the effects of logging, mortality and recruitment of plot trees on phylogenetic community structure in 32 plots in Kampong Thom, Cambodia. Each plot was 0.25 ha; 28 plots were established in primary evergreen forests and four were established in secondary dry deciduous forests. Measurements were made in 1998, 2000, 2004 and 2010, and logging, recruitment and mortality of each tree were recorded. We estimated phylogeny using rbcL and matK gene sequences and quantified phylogenetic a and b diversity. Within communities, logging decreased phylogenetic diversity, and increased overall phylogenetic clustering and terminal phylogenetic evenness. Between communities, logging increased phylogenetic similarity between evergreen and deciduous plots. On the other hand, recruitment had opposite effects both within and between communities. The observed patterns can be explained by environmental homogenization under logging. Logging is biased to particular species and larger diameter at breast height, and forest patrol has been effective in decreasing logging. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.


Theilade I.,Copenhagen University | Schmidt L.,Copenhagen University | Chhang P.,Forestry Administration | McDonald J.A.,University of Texas–Pan American
Nordic Journal of Botany | Year: 2011

As part of recent field studies, a hitherto undescribed type of evergreen freshwater swamp forest was discovered in Stung Treng Province, Cambodia. The swamp forest occurs in at least six disjunct localities and is dominated by hydrophytic trees (Eugenia spp., Ficus spp., Litsea spp., Macaranga triloba, Myristica iners and Pternandra caerulescens). Although these same genera also occur in upland forests, most are represented by different species in the swamps. Livistona saribus emerges from the canopy as an indicator species of this vegetation type while dense stands of other palms (Calamus, Areca, Licuala) and sporadic, dense populations of tree ferns (Cibotium barometz) dominate the understory. Pneumatophores, stilt roots, and aerial roots characterize the hydrophytes. The floristic composition indicates that the forest type is distinct compared to other swamp forests described from the region and worthy of protection based on its rarity and ecological uniqueness. © 2011 The Authors.


NUTTALL M.,WCS Cambodia Program | NUT M.,Forestry Administration | UNG V.,WCS Cambodia Program | O'KELLY H.,WCS Laos Program
Bird Conservation International | Year: 2016

The catastrophic decline of the endangered Green peafowl Pavo muticus across its former range is well known, yet there are only a handful of reliable population estimates for this species from its remaining range, making global assessment challenging. We present the first rigorous population estimates for this species from Cambodia, and model the distribution and the relationships between this species and several environmental covariates from the Core Zone (187,900 ha) of Seima Protection Forest (SPF), eastern Cambodia. Using distance sampling the abundance of Green Peafowl in SPF in 2014 is estimated to be 541 (95% CI [252, 1160]). Density surface modelling was used to predict distribution and relative abundance within the study area, and there was some evidence that the species prefers areas of deciduous forest, non-forest, and to a lesser extent semi-evergreen forest. These results highlight the importance of the central and northern sections of SPF for this species. Furthermore, the analysis suggested that Green Peafowl abundance is higher in closer proximity to water, yet decreases in closer proximity to human settlement. Copyright © BirdLife International 2016

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