Southern Cardamom
Ridge-to-Reef Watershed

11°27'48.3"N 103°16'35.8"E

Protecting the Southern Cardamom Watershed in Cambodia

The Southern Cardamom REDD+ Project stretches from the Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia down to the Gulf of Thailand. This incredible watershed is one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots and drains into one of Southeast Asia’s largest mangrove forests, located in the Koh Kong estuary.

Together with the local community, SeaTrees is working to protect 497,000 hectares of this critical coastal watershed. The Southern Cardamom Project is designed to promote climate change mitigation and adaptation, maintain biodiversity and create alternative livelihoods under the United Nations REDD+ scheme. The project is part of the Indo-Burma Hotspot, one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots, and is a critical watershed for the Gulf of Thailand, with a mosaic of habitats from dense evergreen and pine forests on its ridge tops to lowland melaleuca wetlands, flooded grasslands, lakes and coastal mangroves in its lowlands. 

The Southern Cardamom "Ridge to Reef" REDD+ Project contains 2000+ hectares of pristine mangrove forest and helps to protect and enhance a further 50,000+ hectares of mangroves. Blue-carbon ecosystems like those surrounding this project are most effective when they are directly connected to a healthy watershed (more on that below). REDD+ is one of the most effective carbon offset protocols and stands for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation program developed by the UNFCC.

Project snapshot:

- With VCS, SD VISta and CCB certification, the project produces 3.5 million metric tons of carbon credits per year. 

- Home to myriad endangered species, like the Irrawaddy Dolphin, Giant ibis, Sunda pangolin, Asian elephant, Sun Bear, Black-shanked douc langur and Pileated gibbon

- The project provides 200+ jobs, and education and healthcare benefits for 16,000+ people in the local community

These diverse habitats support at least 35 species of IUCN Threatened birds, mammals, and reptiles including the Siamese crocodile and one of Cambodia’s two viable populations of Asian elephant. The landscape has also been identified by the Government of Cambodia as an opportunity for tiger reintroduction.

A unique geographic setting

Ridge To Reef Watershed

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The latest Science

Mangroves sequester more carbon when connected to terrestrial forests

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Project Partner

Wildlife Alliance

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Supporting Communities

The Southern Cardamom Project directly supports the livelihoods of >16,000 local people in 29 villages, including an indigenous community in Chhay Arieng. The majority of the jobs are community based eco-tourism and forest guards. Women hold 63% of the management positions of the project.


From Poachers to Guides

The longer-term success of this project is ensured through the creation of meaningful jobs that are reliant on the forest being protected. Wildlife Alliance helped to develop eco-tourism opportunities. Yes! - you can go on guided tour with a ranger and see the impact this project is having in person:

VCS Certified

REDD+ Carbon Project

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Endangered Species

Irrawaddy Dolphins

Live in the bay and mangrove forest waterways of the project. These dolphins are highly intelligent and form "partnerships" with local fisherman.


Sustainable Development

This project provides long-term employment for the local community. This in turn drives other Sustainable Development benefits produced by the project.