A feasibility study on payment for forest environmental services in Cambodia

The study conducted a feasibility study on payment for forest environmental services in Cambodia, combining quantitative and qualitative data sources. Literature reviews and interviews were conducted to determine conditions required for payment for ecosystem service success, and focus groups discussion and household surveys were employed to capture villagers’ behaviors in forest management and payment for forest environmental services.
Results showed that conditions required for PES success include clear defined ecosystem services; flexible contracts and payments; transaction costs that do not exceed potential benefits: a reliance on multiple sources of revenue delivering sufficient and sustainable money; a close monitoring of compliance, land use change and provision of ecosystem services; and the flexibility to improve effectiveness and efficiency and adapt to changing condition. PES-like failures in Cambodia resulted from inequity of benefit-sharing, a lack of management committee capacity to monitor participants and carry out punitive measures, and the poor quality of services and communication skills. Factors contributing to PES-like successes were simple and local program organization, low administrative costs, transparency of benefit-sharing to services providers, and active participation from villagers in complying with the regulations of programs. PFES could be integrated into the REDD finance mechanism.
As a result, the case study in Chambok exemplified a community-based forest suitable for PFES implementation and possibly ajoint program. This would lead to improved livelihood conditions of local communities through forest cover protection, and increase the awareness of downstream and upstream villagers in ensuring the sustainable provision of services.