Chapter 5. Evaluating the contribution of community-based ecotourism (CBET) to
In a case study of the flagship Chambok CBET program in Cambodia, by comparing CBET members with non-CBET members within the same villages, we confirmed that CBET did not contribute directly to improvements in household incomes and livelihoods. Rather, income from CBET was low, and only provided a secondary source of income, and CBET members could not depend on it to improve their livelihoods.
Thus, we conclude that it is a challenge to use CBET to achieve poverty reduction objectives with equitable income shares. The Chambok CBET program income distribution policy should be revised to provide equitable opportunities to obtain additional income so that poor households can benefit from ecotourism.
Tropical forests are providing food, shelter, medicine, as well as services to millions of people around the world. The decreasing areas of such important forests are threatening human lives. Community Based Natural Resource Management seems to play an important role in forest management in the developing world, especially in Cambodia. However, there are lacks of studies on the evaluation of the effectiveness of such program on Before and After and Control and Intervention design. This study contributes to the evaluation methods of Community Forestry and Community Based Ecotourism in forest conservation and livelihood change after the implementation of the programs in Cambodia.
Based on the results, Community Forestry and Community Based Ecotourism are effective in reducing deforestation, even though the outcome is not completely robust.
The deforestation risk in Community Forestry increased for larger size of Community Forestry in locations with easier accessibility (lower elevation, gentle slope and shorter distance from village, market and Community Forestry boundary). It can be suggested from this county-scale large-N data that at least the government should not establish new large Community Forestry of more than 2000 ha on gentle slopes or low elevation. With technical and financial assistances from Non-governmental organizations and strong local participation and other relevant institutions, Community Forestry and other potential areas with forest and other natural attraction should establish more ecotourism activities to cope with deforestation.
Community Based Ecotourism is still unable to increase household income and yet a challenge in livelihood improvement. To deal with such challenges, all relevant stakeholders should actively participate in Community Forestry and Community Based Ecotourism by strengthening both local capacity and financial support to enhance tenure security, effective enforcement, monitoring, equitable benefit sharing, gradual sanctioning and strong leadership to help build sustainable Community Based Natural Resource Management in Cambodia.
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