20. Master plan for Phnom Kulen national park (PKNP):
Expresses its satisfaction with the external consultants provided by UNDP to cooperate with the Ministry of Environment on the elaboration of the development of the Master Plan for Phnom Kulen National Park.
However, points out to the Ministry of Environment departments that a risk is involved if tourists are allowed to visit the Core Zone, even in small numbers in the form of ecotourism, as has been spelled out*. That zone should only be accessible to persons authorized for administrative or scientific reasons. It therefore recommends that the said zone be cordoned off as an exclusive protected area and to designate outstanding natural areas of interest to tourists in the Conservation Area, which is also covered by adequate safeguarding measures;
Does not recommend that wood harvesting for timber or firewood be allowed in the Conservation Area by the local communities; collecting dead wood or certain pole cutting with permits and under quotas for thinning out forested areas where regeneration is underway should be sufficient;
Notes with surprise the high level of funding allocated to reforestation—half of the PKNP budget for the next five years. It recommends a less spectacular approach, i.e. to privilege spontaneous regeneration for much of the reforestation process. The tropical climate and the presence of different significant species of self-seeding trees well suited to the local conditions argue heavily in favor of “natural” forest restoration. Of course, this approach will entail tending and regular intervention, but at a cost that is much lower and with a success rate much higher than reforesting by planting stands of saplings originating from different tree nurseries and which will require ongoing care at least during the first years.
Recommends that local village communities be tasked with putting in and operating forest nurseries if that alternative seems most appropriate. Such an approach would involve them in the reforesting process and make it possible to work with plants that are adapted to the local conditions;
Recommends that the status of “old” village and “recent” village slated for relocation be determined using both legal documents and conducting surveys of the village officials regarding the historical background of their village as well as on former maps or records and archives. That will be an issue mainly to be dealt with when the time for implementation comes, but the principle should be covered in the PKNP master plan.
Draws finally the attention of the Ministry of Environment to the spontaneous settlements taking place along the road bordering on PKNP, on land that was recently vested to the Ministry of Environment, previously managed by the Forestry Administration;
Recommends that such settlements not to be continued as a matter of urgency while time still allows, before families put their roots down and start putting crops on land that has just been cleared of trees.
Recommends that the project for a road to cross the PKNP, mentioned at the 28th Session of the ICC-Angkor by the Minister of the Environment, be discussed within the ICC, so as to ensure that it is in harmony with the future PKNP Master Plan, given the proven presence of archaeological remains. To this end, the ICC wishes that the technical file for this road project be forwarded to the ICC secretariat for consideration by the ad hoc experts and presented at the next session of the ICC.
*Plan Directeur/Master Plan/Phnom Kulen. Page 9-10-11, Chapter 3, Sub-Chapter 3.2, Section : SPA1.1, Sub-section 2 : Zoning, a) Core Zone