Logs or Local Livelihood? The Case for Legalizing Community Control of Forest Lands in Ratanakiri, Cambodia
This study compares the economic benefits of using forest land in Ratanakiri for the traditional collection of non-timber forest products by ethnic communities, with the benefits of commercial timber harvesting. The main conclusions of the study are that non-timber forest products (NTFP) are worth a lot, much more than previously thought. These products are very important to the poorest sectors of society. Any land use planning process that ignores these values can lead to a loss of economic value for Cambodia and even to increased security problems and conflicts in the province. Furthermore, there is clear evidence that local communities have the capability and knowledge to sustainably manage their customary forests themselves. Conversely, large scale commercial interests in the area currently threaten the environmental stability and rich cultural heritage of the area.
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