Project keyVCS-1650Project descriptionNestled in the lush jungles of eastern Cambodia, the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary (KSWS) is a haven for biodiversity and a vast storehouse of forest carbon. Spanning over 290,000 hectares, the protected area is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including 84 globally threatened species and the world's largest population of black-shanked douc and yellow-cheeked crested gibbon. The KSWS also holds a unique cultural significance for the Indigenous Bunong people, who have called this forest home for centuries and whose culture and livelihoods are deeply entwined with the forest. Despite the importance of this area, it faces a high threat of deforestation due to various factors, including forest conversion for agriculture and illegal logging.The Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary REDD+ Project (KSWS REDD+), launched in 2010 as a collaboration between the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), has made impressive strides in reducing deforestation and promoting alternative livelihoods. The project has prevented the release of more than 20 million tons of CO2e emissions and saved 25,000 hectares of forest from destruction. It has also created jobs, supported education and training initiatives, and established an ecotourism venture that supports local communities.The project has also distributed nearly $1 million through its Cash for Communities (C4C) program, a mechanism that shares the revenue of carbon credits sales. These funds go directly to local communities, who decide how they should be spent to support sustainable development activities such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure like wells and bridges.In Cambodia, the Ministry of Environment is at the forefront of protecting the country's protected areas, with a focus on preserving the nation's forests. The WCS is a leading global conservation organization operating in 60+ countries and brings its extensive knowledge and experience in conservation to the project.