05 Jul 2012
Tim Killeen’s engaging new book, The Cardamom Conundrum: Reconciling Development and Conservation in the Kingdom of Cambodia, describes decision-making options that the Government of Cambodia could engage in to develop their nation along a path of sustainability through resolving the sustainable economic development paradox, or “conundrum”. Dr. Killeen’s research demonstrated that this conundrum could be resolved based on a green economy with four pillars. These pillars are:
Providing communities opportunities to conserve and manage their forests through stacking and bundling ecosystem assets (see TransLinks).
Diversifying agriculture techniques and products for local and international trade including intensifying production on the rice plain through drip irrigation and introducing new markets for upland crops such as perennial woods species like silk and rubber (see Wildlife Friendly Ibis Rice Project).
Managing Cambodia’s natural fisheries to ensure long-term sustainable use while promoting green aquaculture. Much of Cambodia’s farmland is dormant throughout the year during the long dry season. This farmland could be more productive through sustainable use drip irrigation with water from the local aquifer that is replenished by annual floods.
Developing locally-led sustainable tourism options for both local and international interests thought improved land-use planning and zoning, energy efficiency and access to tourism locations. This could occur in a manner that mimics the core/satellite strategy implemented in Angkor Wat, Cambodia. This strategy keeps hotel and infrastructure development out of the core area with the various temple complexes.
The Krâvanh Mountains region or the "Cardamom Mountains" (in Khmer written as Chuor Phnom Krâvanh) are one of the most important ecologically rich mountainous regions in mainland SE Asia. The 20,000 sq km region is dominated by evergreen pines. It is home to at least 80 globally threatened species. The area is about one-third of Cambodia’s landmass with a diverse population of about 1 million.
The book has been translated into Khmer with the intention that it will inform Cambodian decision-makers.
The book presents the options Cambodian’s face in a positive manner, empowering their future economic choices with green economic alternatives, in a manner that allows Cambodians to resolve their “Cardamom Conundrum”. Finally, it is a must-read book for any institution and person with an ecological sciences, sustainability, business, and regional focus on Cambodia. This book provides a framework by which Cambodian sustainability-based long-term regional and local development decisions can be discussed, measured, analyzed and attributed.