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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences eTheses
Title: Conservation in Cambodia: linking forests, wildlife, and people in dynamic landscapes
Author(s): Nuttall, Matthew N
Supervisor(s): Bunnefeld, Nils
Keywords: Conservation
Protected area
Wildlife population
Distance sampling
Mixed modelling
Simulation modelling
Issue Date: Feb-2022
Publisher: University of Stirling
Citation: Nuttall MN, Griffin O, Fewster RM, McGowan PJK, Abernethy K, O'Kelly H, Menghor N, Vandoeun S, Bunnefeld N. 2021. Long-term monitoring of wildlife populations for protected area management in Southeast Asia. Conservation Science and Practice 4(2).
Abstract: Cambodia is a country rich in biodiversity and cultural heritage, yet between 1970 and 1993 the country experienced civil war and genocide, with long-lasting implications for the country’s environment, politics, and people. Cambodia’s post-conflict economic recovery has been remarkably successful; reducing poverty rates, expanding agriculture, and improving the socioeconomic status of many in the country, making it an excellent case study for other countries that have experienced rapid political, socioeconomic, and environmental change. Yet, there has been little research into the effects of Cambodia’s economic recovery on forests, nor into the effects of current policies and funding regimes on the country’s protected area network. In this thesis, I address these research gaps by focussing on two themes: 1) economic development and forest loss; 2) protected area, wildlife, and landscape management. First, I reveal that metrics of economic development and agricultural commodities do not predict forest loss but do predict the expansion of commercial agriculture. I then demonstrate that there are complex relationships between socioeconomic, human, and geographical predictors of forest cover at different scales across the country. Second, I present evidence that in contrast to arboreal species, anthropogenic threats are having serious negative effects on ground-based wildlife within a flagship protected area. I then identify the potential consequences of different funding regimes for conservation management within a social-ecological landscape. I demonstrate that short-term grant cycles, which are the dominant conservation funding mechanisms around the world, are not optimal for maximising long-term conservation outcomes. My thesis provides novel and policy-relevant research into the effects of Cambodia’s post-conflict recovery on forest conservation and landscape management. I reveal the implications of policies that prioritise economic development and agricultural expansion over natural resource management and biodiversity conservation, and I recommend the development of agricultural policies and schemes that embrace modern innovation and promote socioeconomic development yet embody environmental sustainability. Finally, I recommend the urgent reduction in wildlife hunting, action to reduce reliance on wild meat, and the prioritisation of sustainable long-term funding for protected areas.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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