A key concern for developing countries experiencing rapid agrarian transformation is the loss of different agro-ecologies and on-farm biodiversity. As forest cover diminishes, discussions around environment and conservation often turn to debates over agro-biodiversity and land management by farmers. Prey Veng meaning ‘Long’ or ‘Grand Forest’ in Khmer, was densely forested prior to French rule; but it is now firmly planted as a central province of Cambodia’s agricultural heartland, with the largest area of any province devoted to rice production, contributing around 10 per cent of the country’s total annual rice harvest (USAID, 2008). Rice ecologies of the lower Mekong delta can present a seemingly endless landscape of monoculture. To the contrary, however, Cambodia’s lowland rice ecologies are highly diverse and productive environments that yield not just rice but a range of flora and fauna important to food security for farmers and potentially the resilience of agricultural systems overall (Shams, 2007). Diversity among rice varieties is also recognized as important in the face of environmental uncertainty and climate variability (IPCC, 2002). Simply put, growing a diversity of rice varieties helps spread the risks of crop failure due to changing growing conditions or extreme climatic events to which Cambodia is prone.
|Title of host publication||Conservation and Development in Cambodia: Exploring frontiers of change in nature, state and society|
|Editors||Milne, Sarah, and Mahanty, Sango|
|Place of Publication||London and New York|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|