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Conflicts within the REDD+ Oddar Meanchey Community Forests, Cambodia

Different forms of forest conflicts occurred both within and between communities and powerful external actors, such as mining and economic land concession holders, the Cambodian military, illegal loggers and land speculators.


The Oddar Meanchey Community Forest REDD+ (OM CF REDD+) project was initiated in 2008 and implemented through a partnership between the Cambodian Forestry Administration (FA), Pact, Terra Global Capital (TGC) and several local actors from the village, commune, district, provincial, and national levels. The establishment of the OM CF REDD- project has followed a ‘mosaic’ methodology, in which 13 different Community Forests (CF) were linked together, covering in total 64,318ha of land. Several conflicts with different actors have arisen, surrounding the Community Forests being part of the REDD+ site [1].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Conflicts within the REDD+ Oddar Meanchey Community Forests, Cambodia
State or province:Oddar Meanchey
Location of conflict:Several Community Forests across Oddar Meanchey (e.g. Samraong district)
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Land acquisition conflicts
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific commodities:Land
Carbon offsets
Project Details and Actors
Project details

According to agreements between the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) and Terra Global Capital, at least 50 percent of the net income from the carbon credit sales needs to be allocated to local communities for local development projects. This corresponds to around 10 million USD available over a period of 30 years [1].

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Project area:64,318
Level of Investment:10,000,000 USD
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:8,000 households
Start of the conflict:2008
Company names or state enterprises:Pact from United States of America
Terra Global Capital (TGC) from United States of America
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (MAFF); Cambodian military; Technical Working Group on Forestry and Environment
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Community Forestry Network (CFN); The Monks Community Forestry Association (MCF) has played a key role in mobilising support for community forestry and REDD+ in Oddar Meanchey. With the guidance of a charismatic leader, the Venerable Bun Saluth, the MCF has been influential in gaining the trust and support of villagers for forest protection.
Children’s Development Association (CDA) is a local NGO based in Oddar Meanchey province that has been implementing community forestry projects since 2002.
The Community Forestry Network (CFN) was informally established in 2008 to represent all the CFs in Oddar Meanchey province. A representative from each of the 13 CF groups partakes in the network. The CFN plays an important role in resolving the key problems affecting the CFs, particularly conflicts over forest land use and the internal management of the CF groups.
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stageLATENT (no visible resistance)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Noise pollution
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Potential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Other socio-economic impacts, Militarization and increased police presence
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Other socio-economic impactsSocial exclusion and breakdown of structure and solidary of the local groups
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Repression
Strengthening of participation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Community action has made important contributions to addressing and resolving forestry conflicts in Oddar Meanchey. This community mobilization has generally been led by CF leaders and the CFN Chief, and has resulted in important outcomes for forest protection and conflict resolution. Pact has supported the CFN through the provision of resources and capacity building, to allow regular meetings to take place and enhance the strength of the network.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Government Decision No. 699 illustrates that the FA retains ownership of for- est carbon credits and plays the role of the carbon credit seller for the project. The Government Decision No. 699 states that revenues from carbon credit selling from the project will be used to (1) improve the forest quality, (2) provide maximum ben- efits to local communities who are participating in the project, and (3) study the new potential area for new REDD+ projects in Cambodia. The FA agreed that at least 50 percent of the net income (after project expense) will flow to participating communi- ties in the project and the Technical Working Group on Forestry and Environment was nominated to channel payments during the first five years (Bradley, 2011).

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Bradley, A., 2011, Review of Cambodia’s REDD readiness: Progress and challenges. Kanagawa, Japan: Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES).
[click to view]

Yeang, D. (2012). Community Tenure Rights and REDD+: A Review of the Oddar Meanchey Community For- estry REDD+ Project in Cambodia. ASEAS - Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies, 5(2), 263-274.
[click to view]

[1] Conflict resolution in REDD+: An assessment in the Oddar Meanchey Community Forestry REDD+ Site, Cambodia
[click to view]

Pasagaard, M. and Chea, L, 2013, Double inequity? The social dimensions of deforestation and forest protection in local communities in Northern Cambodia, Austrian Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, Vol 6(2), pp. 330-355

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Economic land concessions (ELCs) as source of conflict in Oddar Meanchey
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[2] TERRA Global Capital on the Oddar Meanchey Community REDD Project, Cambodia
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Hao Phan, School of International Development, University of East Anglia, [email protected]
Last update08/07/2015
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