Cambodia is rich in natural resources that support the livelihood of many people, especially the indigenous peoples living in or adjacent to protected areas. The Virachey National Park, the largest national park in Cambodia, is home to the Brou, the Kavet, and other indigenous communities. This study conducted an economic valuation of the direct use values of selected natural resources and examined the factors affecting the indigenous peoples’ behavior toward biodiversity, particularly wildlife. The study found that 92% of the surveyed indigenous households benefited directly from natural resources through fishing, wildlife hunting, being ecotourism guides, and collecting NTFPs. The average economic direct use value of selected natural resources was KHR 1,491 thousand per household per year. Household characteristics such as education of the household head and household size had positive significant effects on household income, while the age of the household head had negative effects on household income. About 48% of the surveyed households hunted. Bigger household sizes encouraged households to hunt, but having a family member working for an NGO or the government discouraged this. Having ecotourism and being a member of a community protected area did not significantly affect household income, hunting participation, or hunting frequency.
Natural Resource Dependency and Indigenous People’s Behavior toward Biodiversity in Virachey National Park, Cambodia
by Cheb Hoeurn and Kong Sopheak