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Payments for conservation work for wildlife in Cambodia
WCS conservation actions in the Northern Plains of Cambodia have led to a) a fivefold increase in the population of a critically endangered white-shouldered ibis, and a stable population of the giant ibis; b) reduced deforestation and conversion of the wetlands used by ibis; and c) increased income by $132 to $413 per year for those households engaged with WCS, compared to other households in the villages
Since late 2005, WCS has been helping to strengthen the management of two protected areas (Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary and Preah Vihear Protected Forest) in the Northern Plains of Cambodia, and has been exploring the use of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) to local communities as conditional incentives for conserving wildlife and natural forests. Three PES schemes were launched in villages within the protected areas (PAs) to complement WCS’s investment in PA management. These initiatives include: 1) direct payments in 15 villages for protection of the nests of globally endangered water-birds, including the giant ibis and the white-shouldered ibis;11 2) community managed ecotourism in 2 villages with revenue conditional on protection of ibis and their habitat;12 and 3) payment of a premium price for rice (Ibis RiceTM) in 4 villages if they adhered to their land-use plans. By gathering data before and after the start of the three PES schemes, and by comparing households that participated with those that did not, we are not only able see if forest cover and human wellbeing changed over time, but we can also detect different outcomes between participating and non-participating households,13 and account for observed changes that were not a result of WCS actions. In 2008 the Tmatboey community ecotourism project won the UNDP Equator Prize as an outstanding community conservation initiative, and in 2008 Ibis Rice™ won the World Development Marketplace Prize as an innovative model for community-based environmental business.
From 2006 to 2010, 1,335 endangered water-bird nests were protected and chicks fledged successfully in 88.5% of protected nests compared to only 36.4% of unprotected nests. Between 2002 and 2015 white-shouldered ibis increased from a single pair to 48 adults.
Satellite remote sensing imagery showed that deforestation rates decreased by more than 60% within protected areas where WCS was supporting management, and the PES schemes resulted in an additional 50% reduction in deforestation.
Nest protection and monitoring added $81,696 in income each year to 15 villages between 2006 and 2010. Ibis Rice producers were wealthier than control households, and those that participated in both the ecotourism and Ibis Rice PES schemes improved their well-being at a higher rate than non-PES households in the same village, and increased their rice harvests and food security faster than control households. Average annual payment per household was $132 from birds-nest protection, $499 from ecotourism and $413 from Ibis Rice. With annual income of rural households in Cambodia averaging around $600, these PES payments constitute a substantial increase in family income
Increase in endangered Ibis population as a result of WCS Cambodia's Payment for Ecosystems Services schemes with local communities.
Three WCS Payment for Ecosystems Services programs are helping endangered ibis to recover and people to thrive in the Northern Plains of Cambodia.
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