FORRU Cambodia



Supporting FORRU-Cambodia

In partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Wildife Landscapes, FORRU-CMU will support the Forestry Administration of Cambodia to implement their national FORRU plan, developed during the Darwin Initiative Project ;Facilitating forest restoration for biodiversity recovery in Indochina. The current Darwin Initiative grant will support the establishment of an experimental tree nursery in Siem Reap Province and train project staff to carry out the following activities: i) establish a phenology trail to study the reproductive ecology of forest tree species; ii) tree seed collection and storage; iii) develop effective tree propagation techniques and iv) establish field trial plots to compare field performance among potential framework tree species.

FORRU_CMU's Training manuals, "How to Plant a Forest" and"Research for Restoring Tropical Forest Ecosystems" will be used as texts for establishing the FORRU and training staff recruited to run it. The outcome will be an effective forest restoration research unit, which will generate original information to guide the restoration of Cambodia's unique forest ecosystems, whilst enhancing biodiversity recovery.


Under the original project,
 FORRU-CMU hosted 3 capacity-building workshops for Laos, Cambodia and China at Chiang Mai and contributed to the organization and content of workshops in each of the participating countries. FORRU-CMU staff co-authored the training manual "Research for Restoring Tropical Forest Ecosystems" and published the English and Thai editions. We worked closely with the Forestry Administration in Phnom Penh (FA) to assist principle staff there to develop the FORRU-Cambodia plan, including assessments of the proposed site of the Unit at Siem Reap.

In the current project, FORRU-CMU will assist the FA to implement a detailed technical training program for staff recruited to implement the research program of FORRU-Cambodia. FORRU-CMU will help train them to carry out routine research on forest survey methods, phenology, seed germination trials and seedling growth experiments, as well as field performance trials at the nursery/field station site in Siem Reap, to develop effective methods to grow, plant and take care of framework tree species, to maximize biodiversity recovery in restored forest sites.

Project Details

During the Darwin Initiative Project "Facilitating forest restoration for biodiversity recovery in Indochina" which ended in March 2008, a plan was drawn up to establish a Forest Restoration Research Unit for Cambodia, and a programme of capacity building amongst Cambodian Forestry Administration (FA) officials was successfully carried out. This project will implement the FORRU-Cambodia plan and to begin research to develop effective techniques to restore Cambodia’s unique forest ecosystems and their associated rich biodiversity.

Funding from the Darwin Initiative, and training provided by FORRU-CMU and RBG-Kew, will enable the Forestry Administration of Cambodia to establish a Forest Restoration Research Unit in Siem Reap Province (FORRU-Cambodia), as planned during the original Darwin Project, based on the successful model developed by FORRU-CMU at Chiang Mai University, N. Thailand (see also project 162/11/023).

The project will cover the construction of an experimental nursery on the boundary of Phnom Kulen National Park, Siem Reap Province (near the World Heritage Site of Angkor Wat) and staff recruitment and training to implement a research program to initiate testing of 50 potential framework tree species, capable of accelerating biodiversity recovery when planted into deforested sites.

Above: The trial plots will be near the historically and environmentally significant Phnom Kulen National Park

A survey will be carried out to identify the indigenous forest tree species in the area, followed by a literature search to determine which of them may be suitable candidates for testing as framework tree species. Along trails leading into the national park from the proposed nursery, forest tree species will be labelled, identified and observed monthly for flower and fruit production (phenology study). Seeds will be collected from those trees and others in Angkor Wat Historical Park for germination trials for a minimum of 50 candidate framework tree species during the 2-year project period.

In the second year, laboratory analysis will be carried out at Kew to screen up to 30 apparently recalcitrant species for desiccation tolerance (to maximise storage potential) and to tackle any germination problems in up to 10 orthodox species (to maximise germination). Above: Seedlings already propogated by Forestry Administration near Siem Riep. Once sufficient planting stock has been produced, a field trial plot system will be initiated in Y2 and monitored in subsequent years, to compare field performance among the candidate species being tested and assess their potential to attract seed dispersing wildlife and thus accelerate biodiversity recovery. Information from these experiments will be used to formulate a “framework species” approach to restoring of the unique forest ecosystems in the region and promote biodiversity recovery in restored sites.

To train FORRU-Cambodia staff, FORRU-CMU will join with the FA to run 4 joint training events focussing on 1) Identification of candidate framework tree species and tree nursery design; 2) Phenology data collection/analysis and seed collection; 3) Tree propagation experiments and 4) Design and establishment of a field trial plot system. Kew will contribute training in seed storage techniques to the second workshop, which will also be attended by FORRU-CMU staff, who will benefit from the technology transfer. FORRU-CMU will also work with Kew and Wildlife Landscapes to assist FORRU-Cambodia with data analysis, production of written outputs and assist the UK partners with project evaluation and quality control.

Projected Outputs

  • A list of indigenous forest tree species and voucher specimens.
  • A List of candidate framework tree species for testing, from combining published and indigenous knowledge, during team meetings.
  • A substantial dataset on the reproductive phenology of indigenous forest tree species
  • A well-functioning research tree nursery, with efficient staff, established by the local forestry administration, producing enough trees for planting experimental test plots as well as for government tree planting programs and for distribution to the local community
  • A dataset on the germination, dormancy and storage of indigenous forest tree species (at least 50) to support selection of candidate framework tree species.
  • Voucher specimens verified by Kew staff for all seeds tested at Kew.
  • Specimens, photographs and descriptive information from seedling growth trials to produce a seedling identification handbook in the future.
  • A field trial plot system, planted in the second year, producing a dataset on initial survival and growth of planted trees.