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Land Degradation

Assessment in Cambodia
Sovuthy Pheav, PhD (Agric. Sci.)

Director,
Di
t
Department
D
t
t off A
Agricultural
i lt
l Land
L d
Resources Management

Outlines
Biophysical conditions of Cambodia
Land degradation situation analysis
Land
L dd
degradation
d ti iin C
Cambodia:
b di case
studies

Biophysical conditions
Cambodia is a tropical
country located on the
peninsula of mainland
Southeast Asia with a land
area of 181,035 km2.
It is adjacent to the gulf of
Thailand and has a coastline
around 440 km. Its land
,
km runs
border of 2,438
along Thailand to the west,
Vietnam to the east and
Laos PDR to the north.
Cambodia is divided into 23
provinces, 1 municipality,
159 Districts, 08 Khans,
1 417 Communes
1,417
Communes, 204
Sangkats and 14073
Villages (NSDP, 2009-13).

Biophysical conditions (Cont)


(Con t)
Cambodias population is 14,073,461 (MoP/NIS, 2008),
about
b t 90 % are liliving
i iin th
the central
t l llowlands
l d region
i along
l
the Mekong River and around Tonle Sap Lake which is
characterized with fertile soils and abundant water
resources (MAFF/SAW,
resources.
(MAFF/SAW May 2009)
2009).
The population growth rate is estimated at 1.54 percent
per annum. Gender proportion is 50 percent of the total
population (MoP/NIS 2008)
2008).
The Cambodias climate is governed by monsoons and is
characterized by two distinct seasons of rainy (May to
October) and dry (November to April) seasons
seasons.
In general, climate in Cambodia is varies based on
latitude, and classified into 4 four regions.

Biophysical conditions (Cont)


(Con t)
Rainfall, and minimum and maximum temperature, 2005-2009
No
1

Region

Average minimum

Average maximum

Level of rainfall (mm)

1777

2453

Temperature (oC)

24.1

31,8

Northern of Tonle
Sap region

Level of rainfall (mm)

1391

1757

Temperature (oC)

23.4

32.9

Southern of Tonle
Sap region

Level of rainfall (mm)

1207

1886

Temperature (oC)

22.2

35

Eastern of Mekong
g
region

Level of rainfall (mm)

1389

1777

Temperature (oC)

23.6

39.9

Coastal region

Socio-economic Conditions influencing


l dd
land
degradation
d ti
The Agriculture sector is the main economic driver,
accounting
ti ffor 34.4%
34 4% off GDP iin 2009
2009; it also
l accounts
t ffor
more than 60% of the total employment in the country.
The government's rectangular strategy seeks to improve
agricultural
i lt l productivity
d ti it and
d diversification
di
ifi ti th
through
h lland
d
reform, fishery and forestry reforms.
The most important issue confronting is land use reforming,
and clearance of land mines and UXOs etc
etc., are still not yet
reach its maximum potential.
A tension is the rapid growth rate of population is also
tended to put more strains on natural resources and
demanding on new settlement land.
At present, agricultural cropland has been under threat in
terms of competitive demand for use between other nonagricultural development sectors, and the expansion of
agricultural land is also threatening forestland.

Overall Land Degradation Situation

Land degradation, as described by


the UNCCD and WOCAT
WOCAT, takes
many forms. The main forms in
Cambodia are soil degradation, and
deforestation, and subsequent loss
of biodiversity.
biodiversity

At least two major natural


factors exacerbate the effects of
land degradation in Cambodia:
The first is the inherent low soil
fertility in substantive portions of
agricultural lands. This was
reported as early as the 1960s
(Crocker, 1962). Related to this,
is the natural limitation of most
soils to retain/store water which
tends to limit the organic matter
content of soils, thereby
contributing to low soil fertility.

Overall Land Degradation Situation


(C t)
(Cont)
The second major
j exacerbating
g factor would be the effects
of climate change, primarily through increased intensity
and frequency of floods and drought (rice growing areas),
g
p
provinces).
)
and see water intrusion ((3 costal agricultural

Land degradation caused by human-induced activities


are included:
population growth
inappropriate agriculture practices
insecurity of land ownership
low awareness and insufficient support services from
institutions,, and inadequate
q
governance.
g

Overall Land Degradation Situation


(C t)
(Cont)
The FAO study (Douglas,
(Douglas 2008) was made to determine
the extent of land degradation in 8 ASEAN countries
through satellite imagery indicated that:
The portion of degraded land to the total land area varied
from a low 41% (Vietnam) to a high 54% (Indonesia).
Cambodia had the second lowest level of degradation (at
43%). However, this still involved about 7.7 million ha of
land areas.

Overall Land Degradation Situation


(C t)
(Cont)
Land degradation among Southeast Asian Nations
Degraded land
(000 ha)

Total land
(%)

Indonesia

102,894

54

67,679,850 86,656,550

Myanmar

35,889

53

23,625,068 23,608,512

Th il d
Thailand

30 925
30,925

60

15 990 860 36,991,080


15,990,860
36 991 080

Malaysia

17,582

53

9,257,510 10,401,113

Laos

13,340

56

7,232,762

Philippines

13,228

44

4,100,145 33,064,628

Cambodia

7,796

43

2,524,942

13 403
13,403

41

Country

Vietnam

Source: Bai ZG, Dent DL, Olsson L, and Schaepman ME (2008)


NPP= Net Primary Productivity

Total NPP lost


(ton/CO2/23yrs)

Affected
population

3,304,253
3,583,464

342 632 28,085,074


342,632
28 085 074

The Change of Forest Cover: land


degradation in forestland
The changes
g in forest cover from 1965 to 2010
No

Assessment of forest
cover by year

Land Use
Area with Forest cover

Area without forest cover

H
Ha

H
Ha

1965

13,227,100

73.04

4,883,400

26.96

1992/93

10,859,695

59.82

7,293,290

40.18

1996/97

10,638,209

58.60

7,514,776

41.40

2002

11,104,293

61.15

7,056,383

38.85

2005/06

10,730,781

59.09

7,429,893

40.91

2010

10,339,826

56.94

7,820,848

43.91

Three main reasons of the reduction of forest cover: forest and


forestland concessions, and illegal logging and forest land
occupancy.

The Change of Forest Cover: land


d
degradation
d ti iin fforestland
tl d (C
(Cont)
t)
The change
g of forest cover has caused soil erosion
under the influence of rainfall that erode top fertile soil
from upland to lowland, especially to the Mekong river
p Lake ((maximum sediment loads: 1500
and Tonle Sap
and 3000 g/m3 in 1995 &2006).
Because of insufficient cover, the rest soils have been
degraded its quality and productivity
productivity, and this is the
primary cause of land degradation.

The Economic Land Concession (ELC)


Government has issued a policy to support Economic
Land Concessions (ELCs) based on sub
sub-decree
decree 148
148,
dated in 07 July 2005, and modified it to a new subdecree no. 131, dated 15 September 2008.
Guidelines
G id li
were provided
id d ffor agri-businesses,
ib i
ttree
plantations and rubber plantations to help in maintaining
land cover, forest recovery and improve biodiversity
resources while
hil pursuing
i agribusiness
ib i
objectives.
bj i
Ministry of Agriculture (MAFF) provided ELCs from the
forestland to investors since 1997,, covering
g about 1.335
million ha.
Ministry of Environment (MOE) also converted degraded
portions of Protected Areas to ELCs,
ELCs covering about
640,000 ha.

The Economic Land Concession (ELC)


(Cont)
It is noticed that some lands remained unplanted,
p
while
most of the planted areas did not follow the proper
planting systems that allow sufficient ground cover, and to
plant requirements
q
for
meet the "land, climate and p
productive and sustainable agribusiness.
Thus, after the MAFF working group on ELCs completed
their assessment in 2009
2009, 41 ELCs
ELCs agreements which
covered 373,034 ha were terminated. Only 38 companies
were retained. More recently MAFF is due to terminate
many more companies.
companies There are currently 55 companies
who have renewed their contract with MAFF, covering
956,690 ha (MAFF, 2009).

The Economic Land Concession (ELC)


(Cont)
It is g
generally
y believed that clearing
g operations
p
of ELCs
may have exposed those areas vulnerable to soil erosion
leading to land degradation.
Approximately
A
i t l h
half
lf a million
illi ha
h under
d ELC
ELCs, especially
i ll iin
the Southern lowland areas and North-eastern upland
region of the country are now subject to land degradation.

Slash and Burn (Swidden) Agriculture


Based on a recent p
policy
y land use analysis
y
((Seng,
g, 2009))
indicated that slash and burn agriculture in the uplands
of Northern Tonle Sap Lake and Eastern part of Mekong
river covers 349
349,636
636 ha
ha.
Some areas become illegal invasion and permanent
occupation by individual and private.
This contributes to forest degradation and soil erosion
leading to land degradation.

Land degradation in agricultural lands


Agricultural
g
cropland
p
of Cambodia comprises
p
of about
24% of the total countrys land areas.
The total land-use area for agriculture is about 4.37
million
illi h
ha ((nott iinclude
l d ELC
ELCs and
d SLC
SLCs),
) and
d att present,
t
the total cultivated land area is about 3.06 million ha,
suggesting that about 1.31 million ha of agricultural land
have not been utilized.

Land degradation in agricultural lands


(Cont)
Land use categories and its extent of agricultural land use
No.

Land-use categories

Paddy field

Land area (ha)

Percentage
P
t
off
agricultural land

2,788,069

64

Paddy
P
dd fifield
ld (R
(Receding
di &
Floating)

194,864

Paddy field with villages

373,345

Field crops

260 145
260,145

Rubber

84,758

Garden crops

311,031

Orchard

8,179

<1

Others (Slash & burn)

349,636

Total Agricultural Land

4,370,027

24%

Total Cropped Land (As of 2007)

3,053,697

70

Total Unused (As of 2007)

1,316,330

30

Source: Policy Analysis for Agriculture Land Use by Seng (2009)

Farming system characteristics and emerging land degradation related issues


Farming System and Characteristic

Land Degradation related issues

1. Wet Season rice


Upland rice
involving slash-and-burn land preparation,
mainly located in less densely populated areas of
Northeastern provinces;
practice agriculture activities on slopes

- slash and burn, loss of vegetative cover and soil erosion


- encroachment of forestland/ conversion of forest to
agriculture

Lowland rice
poorly productive and rainfall dependent seasonal
rice cropping
frequently associated with sugar palm

- inefficient use of fertilizers


- burning of rice straw and improper land preparation

Dry season rice


- irrigated land, short period rice
- frequently associated with flooded area

inefficient and unsafe use of pesticides

2. Upland crop-based system


River bank farming
dominated by diversified cropping systems
g the annual flooding
g cycle
y
following
seasonal crops, vegetables, tobacco plantation

- Pesticide/chemical over use affecting land, and surface


and ground water resources.

Red & black soil upland


rubber, cassava, pine tree farming is concentrated
other cash crops are developing

- Mechanized plowing up and down the slope (not


across the slope)
- Pesticide over use /miss-use

Industrial production system


rubber, cassava, pine tree farming is concentrated
other cash crops are developing

- Pesticide miss-use
- Mechanized farming that cause erosion and affect soil
fertility

Sources: Column 1 is from AUSAID,2006; column 2 is adapted from Suy et al., 2010.

Land Degradation: Hot and Bright


spots (Case studies)
Study on the Natural
and human causes of
land degradation in
agricultural
i lt l llands
d iin
Cambodia (Suy et al.,
2010) indicated that
land degradation took
different forms at
different sites.
These studied sites
partly represent the
different types of land
g
in the
degradation
country.

Case Study 1
Issue: Sandy Soils and
Deforestation
Study sites: Kampong
Speu and Takeo
provinces
Hot Spot: e.g.
e g Stung
Slakou stream

Degraded forests in watershed areas


Choam Sangker Prey Khmeng : Valley

Over grazing

Erosion prone -Lithosol type of soils


in upstream
Soil study at Kirivoan Mohasang

Heavy sediment deposition in farms at


downstream

Rice-field on the river bank has been damaged by


sediments: the rice plant was buried ( September, 2009)

Scarcity of water in dry season & reduced


productivity in downstream farms

Affected areas by sand deposit

Bright spot and mitigation


strategies
i
Bright spot:
Some good practices of agriculture in Tram Kok
region are considered as Bright spots
Use of multipurpose trees in Prey Mouk region, Takeo
province ( GERES, 2010)

Mitigation
Miti ti strategy:
t t
Reforestation and agroforestry in the upland portions
Water resources management
Soil improvement through natural inputs (green
manure, composts etc.,)

Case Study 2
Issue: Upland Agriculture
Mining and Deforestation
Study sites: Pailin and
Battambang provinces
Hot Spot: Denuded
summit of mountains

Loss of forest covers


The satellite images show the forest
cover a little difference between in
1993 and 1997, and 2002, but the
latter drops significantly from about
65% in 2002 to 35% in 2006.

Latosol type of soils in Pailin which is


prone to erosion

Denuded Summit of mountains:


Hot Spot

Plowing up and down the slope causes


soil erosion

Plough along the slope

Sedimentation affecting downstream


rice fields

Some mine activities at O Tavao (26 Sept


2009) some people
2009):
l ttry tto earn th
their
i lif
life
with rare findings.

The canal linking Stung Pailin to the Sala Krau village


bringing sediments from upstream

Sedimentation affecting downstream in


Battambang province

Bright spot and mitigation


strategies
Bright
g spot:
p
Existing conservation efforts (Moddoxz Jolie Pitt
project and CI), and existing community forestry

Mitigation strategy:
Contour plowing, low tillage, appropriate use of
fertilizers, pesticide/herbicide etc.), and agroforestry
Soil improvement through natural inputs (green
manure, compost etc.)
Remove sediments around Tonle Sap flood plain to
allow water flow to improve agricultural soil in rice
fields
Enforce mining rule/regulations of Ministry of Industry,
mines and Energy (MIME)
Reforestation with post mining tolerant species plan

Case Study 3
Issue: Inappropriate
agriculture practices of
cassava etc
farmers/plantation
owners in Latosols
Study site: Kampong
Cham province
Hot Spots:
e.g.
g Cassava plantations
in Memot, Chuop and
Chalong Rubber
plantation areas
p

Agriculture practices along the slope,


change
h
ffrom rubbers
bb
tto cassavas

soil erosion and low fertilizer use


efficiency
ff
and compacted top soils

Soil erosion observed along the slope (Feb., 2010) at Chuop Plantation

Bright spot and mitigation


strategies
Bright
g spot:
p
Cambodia Rubber Research Institute in Chuop-a very
good example of soil improvement using cover crops,
and good method of land preparation and planting

Mitigation strategy:
Contour plowing
p
g
Plant adoptable species of cover crops (Mucuna,
Stylosanthes, Bracharia, Desmodium etc.,) to
minimize erosion and leaching
Discourage continuous ( yearly) mono-cropping of
cassavas on this type of soil.

Case Study 4
IIssue: Slash
Sl h and
dB
Burn
Agriculture, Agriculture
on hillyy lands
Study site : Mondul kiri
province
Hot spot: Denuded
summit of mountains

Soil is fragile and prone to erosion

Slash and burn agriculture practices

Water and wind erosion

Pine Plantation blown by wind (8th March 2010)

Loss of biodiversity

Bright spot and mitigation


strategies
Bright
g spot:
p
Pine plantation, Socfin practices on rubber plantation.
Case of fruit trees and vegetable farming in selected sites
(GEF, SGP as reported by RUA, 2010)
NGOs working to protect forest and biodiversity and
community forestry

Mitigation
g
strategy:
gy

Tree Windbreak to minimize wind erosion


Reforestation of the denuded summits
Practice of contour farming and alley cropping
Enrich fallow periods with perennial tree crops,
Creation of high altitude agricultural station ( e.g. Dalat
station)) to support
pp low input,
p , sub-temperate
p
vegetable
g
farming systems
Eco-tourism development to help safeguard traditions

Case Study 5
IIssue: Land
L dd
degradation
d ti
( strong acidic soils )
caused by natural factors
Study site: Svay Rieng
province
Hot Spot: All Alumisols
are considered as Hot
spot

Acidic and Toxic soil (alumisols)

Scarcity of water resource in dry season

Farmers use heavily pesticides and


f ili
fertilizers
ffor d
dry season rice
i

Bright spot and mitigation


strategies
Bright
g spot:
p
Selected villages in Svay Rieng incorporating trees in farming
systems for fuel wood, fruit and support to fish raising
Cases demonstrating efforts to improve organic matter and soil
structure/improve fertility and soil moisture retention
Practices of biogas development and using crop residues

Mitigation
g
strategy:
gy
Water resources management
Appropriate chemical fertilizers, such as natural tricalcide
phosphate (Tuk Meas): 1-3 t/ha
For dry season rice, reduce chemical fertilizers by , use 10 t
compost/ha or apply green manure
Encourage utilization of agricultural residues for soil
i
improvement
t
Reduce the use of fertilizers containing S: ( NH4)2SO4,

Many thanks for your kind attention!