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      Biosphere Reserve Information



Photo: Worm Sorensen
  General Description   The Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve consists of a lake and its floodplain with three distinct zones: an open lake at its center, a freshwater swamp forest surrounding it and seasonally flooded grasslands at the margins, mainly in the eastern shore. The hydrological regime of the Mekong River which feeds the area is highly characteristic: the area underwater in the dry season is five times less than in the rainy season and the mass of flood water reverses direction between seasons. Swamp forest is the most characteristic habitat which is critical for the ecosystem productivity (fisheries) and biodiversity (particularly waterbirds and reptiles). Only 10% of the area is covered by tall-tree forest, mainly along streams and wetter places. The least disturbed and botanically most diverse areas have been gazetted as core areas: Prek Toal (Battaming Province), Moat Khla / Boeng Chhma (Siem Reap/Kompong Thom Provinces) and Stung Sen (Kompong Thom Province). The bird communities are the most striking natural feature , particularly in the dry season when they colonise every piece of open water. More than 400 species of fish have been identified, as well as many species of mammals and reptiles. This area is vital for the economy of Cambodia, since its fisheries provide 80% of the protein consumed within the country. The capital Angkor, situated 10 km from the northeastern edge of the lake at the edge of the biosphere reserve is a World Heritage site. More than 1,000,000 inhabitants (2001) live mainly in the buffer and transition areas. Some sixty floating villages are found on the lake and lake edges in the buffer zone. Fishing is the main activity but the fertile, flood plain is also used to produce rice and vegetables. A management plan is currently being drawn up in consultation with local communities. The main goal of the reserve is to study and promote indigenous ecological knowledge and its incorporation in the management practices of the local communities.
  Major ecosystem type   Tropical dry or deciduous forests (incl. monsoon forests); freshwater lake and wetlands
  Major habitats & land cover types   Freshwater lake; aquatic vegetation on lake surfaces such as Pistia stratiotes, water hyacint (Eichornia crassipes) and Urticularia sp.; lacustrine and riparian habitats; inundated forest dominated by Barringtonia acutangula and Diospyros cambodiana; seasonally inundated xerophytic shrubland and grassland with Bridelia cambodiana, Cissus hexangularis and Barringtonia acutangula; tropical evergreen forest with Crudia chrysantha, Diospyros sp. and Ficus sp.
  Location   1225' to 1325'N; 10325' to 10440'E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   1,481,257
  Core area(s)   70,837 (three core areas)
  Buffer zone(s)   510,768
  Transition area(s) when given   899,652
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +7 to +20
  Year designated   1997
  Administrative authorities   Secretariat for Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve administered by one secretary from CNMC (Cambodia National Mekong Committee) and three deputy secretaries: Mr. Neou Bonheur from the Ministry of Environment, Mr. Sam Neou from the Fishery Department, and Mr. Am Norin from the Ministry of Water Resources
  Brief description   Topography, soils, geology and landforms
Botanical survey
Wildlife (waterfowl, snakes)
Flooded forests
Management of freshwater capture fisheries
Participatory natural resource management
Community natural resource use, particularly in the three core areas of Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve
Mapping of the different zones of the biosphere reserve
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Geology, soil, topography.
  Biodiversity   Birds, flora, forest systems, freshwater/inland water, natural resources, reptiles, wildlife.
  Socio-economic   Fishery/Fisheries, local participation, resource use.
  Integrated monitoring   Management issues, mapping, planning and zoning measures/zonation.
  Contact address   Neou Bonheur
Permanent Deputy Secretary, Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve Secretariat
No. 364 M.V., Preah Monivong Bldg., Sangkat Phasr, Doerm Thkov, Khan Chamkarmon
  Telephone   (855.23) 221079
  Fax   (855.23) 221079

Last updated: 29/10/2007

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