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Equator Initiative Case Study - Monks Community Forest

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Monks Community Forest is an 18,261 ha evergreen forest in northwest Cambodia. In response to widespread deforestation, the monks of Samraong Pagoda acquired legal protection of the forest, established patrol teams, demarcated the Forest’s boundaries, and raised environmental awareness among local communities. The monks developed unique approaches to law enforcement based on Buddhist principles, demonstrating the power of linking conservation with traditional customs and beliefs.
A co-management committee of villagers, government authorities and NGOs has been developed to manage what is now Cambodia’s largest community forest. While logging and hunting are prohibited, villagers may use traditional fishing methods, collect fallen timber for construction, and harvest non-timber forest products like bamboo, wild ginger, fruit and mushrooms. The Equator Initiative brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As local and indigenous groups across the world chart a path towards sustainable development, the Equator Prize--issued biennially by the Equator Initiative--shines a spotlight on their efforts by honoring them on an international stage. This project was awarded the Equator Prize in recognition of its contribution to local sustainable development solutions.

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