Status and Trends of Biodiversity
Biogeographically, Cambodia is a tropical country dominated by lowlands along the Mekong River and Tonlé Sap Lake, where agriculture is concentrated, and three mountain regions in the Southwest, North and Northeast. Knowledge at the species levels for plants and animals of Cambodia remains very limited. According to IUCN Redlist, 39 mammals, 36 birds, 15 reptiles, 38 plant species are listed as critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, near-threatened or data deficient (SoE, 2004). Surveys and studies in the country on the other hand listed 28 mammal, 21 bird, 7 fish, and 30 plant species as critically endangered, endangered, and vulnerable. There are 114 known reptile species and 8 known amphibian species. Four species, 2 mammal and 2 bird species, are believed to have been extinct from Cambodia since 1990 (SoE, 2004, p. 130-136). Due to lack of research, very little is known about the genetic diversity within species and there is serious lack of information on distribution and occurrence of wild species and wild relatives of crops in the country. Nevertheless, over 2,000 varieties of rice and several wild rice species have been identified and/or used in the country. A mix of wild and domesticated animal genetic resources has been reported. In terms of ecosystems, Cambodia has agricultural, forest, inland waters and marine and coastal ecosystems. The main threats to biodiversity are increased population pressures, lack of planning and poor law enforcement in natural resource management and uncertainties in land tenure. In addition, natural resources have been privatized and frequently overexploited.
Number and Extent of Protected Areas
Cambodia has 29 protected areas, 3 sites of wetland of international importance and 1 Biosphere Reserve. Overall, these sites cover more than 18% of the country territory and span almost all types of habitat.
Percentage of Forest Cover
The total forest cover is 9,335,000 ha, with 9,245,000 ha for natural forests and 90,000 for plantation areas.