© Adam Oswell / WWF
Mekong Flooded Forest
The Mekong Flooded Forest (MFF) Landscape is a spectacular 27,000km² complex of freshwater ecosystems including wetlands, sandy and rocky riverine habitats in northern-central Cambodia, bordering the South of Laos. 

Along the 180km stretch of the Mekong within Cambodia’s Kratie and Stung Treng provinces, deep pools host one of the world's most diverse and prolific freshwater ecosystems and unique habitats for an estimated 411 species of inland fish, 37 species of mammals, 281 species of birds, 52 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 674 species of vascular plants.

Overfishing, particularly in the mainstem of the Mekong River is directly and indirectly affecting fish populations in the Lower Mekong. Additionally, overharvesting of fish in the Tonle Sap Lake and River is contributing to declining populations of migratory species reliant upon the Lower Mekong for critical life-cycle habitat needs.

As of 2019, there are seven hydropower dams currently operating within and around the MFF. The latest and biggest Lower Sesan II Dam has caused large-scale destruction and community displacement via roads, reservoirs and flooding. In addition to such infrastructure developments, land conversion including economic land concession, social land concession, and mining concessions are also driving habitat loss.

Meanwhile, illegal logging and land encroachment through appropriation of traditional lands have resulted in landless communities and land tenure issues which, too, lead to the overexploitation of natural resources and the hindrance of self-governed, sustainable natural resources management. Illegal wildlife trade, driven by poverty and weak enforcement, is also having direct and significant impacts on many threatened and endangered species. 

What WWF is doing

In order to protect the MFF, its wildlife and natural resources and the communities who depend on them, we are working with partners to:

  • Support local communities in sustainable natural resource management, such as through education, legal rights and land tenure, community forestry and fisheries and alternative livelihood development
  • Provide financial and technical support to the government for the development and management of protected areas
  • Monitor biodiversity and conduct wildlife research to inform conservation strategies
  • Engage the private sector to promote sustainable commodities, sustainable mining and low-impact renewable energy alternatives
  • Promote inclusive governance of natural resources and policymaking by facilitating discussions between representatives of the government, communities and businesses