Cardamom and Elephant Mountains

Country: Cambodia

Provinces/Districts: Bat Dambang, Pousat, Kampong Chhnang, Kaoh Kong, Kampong Spueu, Kampot.

Located in southwestern Cambodia, this biodiversity conservation landscape represents the Cardamom Mountains Rainforest ecoregion. It spans the Central Cardamom Mountains to include the two peaks, Phnom Sankos and Phnom Auoral. The southward extension into the Elephant Mountain Range includes Kirirom and Phnom Bokor National Parks. The mountain range of uplifted Mesozoic substrates is an important watershed for the large Tonle Sap system in central Cambodia. Because of the intact habitat in the landscape, there is potential to maintain connectivity among the five major protected areas.

Overall, the Cardamom Mountain rain forests are considered to represent one of the most intact and species-rich extents of rain forests in the region and is very suitable for landscape conservation. The elephant population is thought to be one of the largest in Indochina, and the forests have been recognized as a Level I Tiger Conservation Unit. There are also other wide-ranging, landscape mammal and bird species in the area.

Key Conservation Issues and Threats to Biodiversity
Immigration and subsequent settlement and agriculture are beginning to fragment the forests, especially in the lowlands. A more severe threat is from logging; almost all of the Central Cardamom Mountain Range has been granted to logging concessions.

Impact of the GMSEC
Route R6 bisects Phnom Bokor National Park in the southern arm of the landscape. Route R1 from Bangkok to Phnom Penh skirts its northern boundary. The zones of influence from these roads intrude into it.

Three dams are being considered in the region that will have direct impacts on the landscape.