REDD+ – Keo Seima, Cambodia

Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary

Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) - listed as Vulnerable with a decreasing population on the IUCN's Red List
Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) - listed as Vulnerable with a decreasing population on the IUCN's Red List

Project Number

VCS 1650


Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)

Additional Certification

Climate, Community, Biodiversity Standards (CCB)

Biodiversity Gold

Technology Type

REDD+ (Avoided Unplanned Deforestation)

Project Location

Mainly in Mondulkiri Province with a small area extending into Kratie Province, eastern Cambodia

The site abuts the Vietnamese border and is bisected by Cambodian National Route 76

Project Description

The Project Area is over 166,000 ha of forest

  • complex mosaic of Deciduous, Semi-evergreen, Evergreen and Bamboo forests
  • diverse landscape rising from 60 m to 750 m in altitude

It is located within the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot and contains two important eco-regions:

  • Annamite Range Moist Forests
    • high levels of local endemism among Evergreen forest species
  • Lower Mekong Dry Forests
    • crucial for the survival of many species typically found in lowland deciduous forests
Global location of project
Cleared rainforest in area of project is used to plant rice and corn - burnt stumps indicate recent deforestation
Cleared rainforest in area of project is used to plant rice and corn - burnt stumps indicate recent deforestation

Prior to the Project

The forests and their species and the communities that rely on them were under substantial threat of deforestation and degradation:

  • conservation management was severely constrained by insufficient, irregular and declining funding
  • competition with other land-uses
  • Deforestation rates and logging were increasing
  • Species were being lost (e.g. Tiger) or suffering population declines

Sustainability Beyond Carbon

This project generates an array of sustainability outcomes, beyond just carbon not being released from the project area’s carbon stocks

Preserved forest areas provide the basic needs and traditional cultural identity for over 2,500 households (about 12,500 people)

Part of the Bunong people’s ancestral homeland, the forest is a key source of income and central to their spiritual beliefs

It strengthens tenure rights and reduces landlessness of Seima forest communities, through legal and planning support for

  • indigenous communal land titling
  • participatory land-use planning
  • land-use agreements

Sustained investment in supporting land titling for all indigenous communities protects their livelihoods and land rights, forming a strong basis for cooperation

Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) - listed as Endangered with a decreasing population on the IUCN's Red List
Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) - listed as Endangered with a decreasing population on the IUCN's Red List
Mondulkiri Rainforest
Mondulkiri Rainforest

Project’s Approach

A holistic approach with 4 direct interventions:

  • strengthening legal mechanisms and political support
  • direct law enforcement
  • strengthening community natural resource management
  • developing alternative livelihoods

Effective law enforcement is essential, underpinning all other activities.

Unplanned deforestation of culturally significant forest is prevented with ongoing patrolling reducing

  • illegal land conversion
  • logging
  • unsustainable non-timber forest product harvesting

This patrolling reduces the loss, degradation, or disturbance of ecologically functional habitats

Patrolling has also reduced wildlife poaching and removed thousands of snares responsible for indiscriminate killing of numerous species of global conservation concern


The project area is habitat for 41 globally threatened vertebrate species (4 critically endangered and 14 endangered) and 11 plant species.

It contains globally or regionally outstanding populations of Asian Elephants (over 100 individuals), primates, wild cattle, carnivores and birds like the Giant Ibis and Green Peafowl.

Considered of high importance for long-term Tiger reintroduction, the project area only recently, prior to the project, lost Tigers from the area.

Tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti)
Tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti) has only recently been lost from the forest
Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus)
Sun Bear (Helarctos malayanus)


The project supports alternative livelihoods by providing income generation and skill development opportunities:

  • literacy and numeracy education for increased off farm options
  • establishment of the Jahoo Gibbon Camp ecotourism enterprise
  • community savings groups
  • market garden development.

Agricultural extension and infrastructure support plus extensive enhanced agricultural and livestock productivity training increases food security and incomes.

Project FAQs

Project lifetime

60 years

Project commenced: 1 January 2010

Project continues until: 31 December 2069

Emission reductions

In first 10 years: 14,000,000 tonnes

Allocated to Buffer: 1,800,000 tonnes

Drivers of Deforestation

Deforestation is being driven by:

  • improved road access
  • population growth
  • weak law enforcement and governance frameworks
  • limited recognition of the value of biodiversity and environmental services
  • rising demand for both wild products and agricultural produce
  • mines and agro-industrial plantations potentially into future
Agents of Deforestation

Deforestation is undertaken by:

  • smallholder farmers
  • large agro-industrial concessions
Threats to Biodiversity and/or Community

Key threats include:

  • Hunting
  • Habitat loss
  • Selective logging
  • Over-harvesting of plant based non-forest timber products
Scenario Expected Without Project

Scenario based on the existing situation before the project and expectations for the future without it:

  • accelerating unplanned deforestation from smallholder farmers
  • over-exploitation of forest products, wildlife and fish
  • conversion of non-forest habitats
  • habitat degradation
  • increasing pollution, human disturbance and competition with invasive species
Threatened Flora

Huge array of plant species exist in the area of the project:

  • potentially over 4000 species

Threatened Species

11 threatened species

  • Critically Endangered: 1
  • Endangered: 7
  • Vulnerable: 3
Threatened Fauna

Very high numbers of animal species exist in the area of the project:

  • Mammals: over 90 species
  • Birds: over 330 species
  • Reptiles and Amphibians: over 60 species

Threatened species

41 threatened species

  • Critically Endangered: 4
  • Endangered: 14
  • Vulnerable: 23

Project Design, Monitoring, Validation and Verification Reports

Want to know more about this Project?

Information about the project has been sourced from the publicly available documents provided here:

All images are either representative stock images, images supplied by the project, or sourced from the Verra VCS Project Database

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