Tmatboey is a small village located in the remote northern plains of Cambodia. The area is most covered by dry dipterocarp forest representing the largest portrayal of this habitat in Southeast Asia. Due to the wide use of dipterocarp wood in tropical economies, this kind of forest has been drastically reduced, jeopardizing its companion biodiversity which includes many endangered bird and mammal species. It also supports one of the few world breeding populations of two critically endangered species: Giant Ibis, Cambodia’s national bird, and White-shouldered Ibis. Especially, but not only, for this two emblematic species, Tmatboey has turned into the most popular birding destination in Cambodia.
Since 2007, Tmatboey’s community started an ecotourism project with the aim of conserving the natural heritage through education and training. They are committed to change people’s behaviour and abolish hunting and tree cutting in return of introducing ecotourism in the area. The project is owned and managed by the community, and the benefits are directly spent to improve their life quality and protect these fragile habitats and species.
This destination participated in the 2019 Sustainable Top 100 Destination Awards at ITB Berlin by submitting a sustainable tourism story. Keywords: ecotourism, ibis, community.