• Men paddle canoe on Tonle Sap Bio Reserve
  • Alternate view of Cambodia
  • Aerial view of Cambodia
  • Tonle Sap
  • Cambodia
Conserving Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake and basin

Since ancient times, the people of Cambodia have relied on the Tonle Sap Lake and basin, one of the world’s most productive ecosystems. During dry season, the lake drains into the Mekong River. Then, in rainy season, the engorged Mekong River reverses the flow of the Tonle Sap River and pushes the excess water into the lake, which swells to more than 1 million hectares. This annual flooding of forest and scrubland deposits a nutrient-rich silt that supports a rich diversity of mammals, birds, fish and plants, including rice.

Nearly 3 million people live within the Tonle Sap basin and many more depend on its natural bounty. But overfishing, a growing population, deforestation and land degradation threatened the ecosystem. An ambitious program was needed to preserve this key part of Cambodia’s culture and economy.

Working with a number of Cambodian and international organizations, Louis Berger was tapped as program manager for the conservation of the Tonle Sap Lake and basin. Louis Berger assisted by:

  • Building Cambodia’s management capacity.
  • Preparing a database, including maps.
  • Introducing biodiversity monitoring.
  • Promoting conservation awareness.

Through these efforts, the ecosystem of the Tonle Sap Lake and basin will continue to thrive and to sustain the people of Cambodia.