Forest cover 2015 – Present

According to the report on Cambodia Forest Cover 2018 issued on December 2020 by the Ministry of Environment (MoE),1 Cambodia has conducted eight national forest assessments in 1958/65, 1992/93, 1996/97, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2016, and 2018. The forest cover assessment from 1958-1965 has not mentioned detailed information about the assessment. For the forest cover in 1992/93 and 1996/97, the assessment was carried out by the Mekong River Commission (MRC)/GTZ (GIZ) in cooperation with the Forestry Administration (FA) using satellite images Landsat TM. Then the forest cover was assessed again in 2002 by the Forest Resource Management (FRM) in collaboration with FA using satellite images Landsat 7ETM of the United States. The FA conducted its first forest cover using the US Landsat 7ETM satellite image with financial support from the Danish Embassy through DANIDA in 2006. In 2010, FA in collaboration with International Tropical Forests Organizations (ITTO) and DANIDA conducted the forest cover assessment using the US Landsat 5TM images. The latest forest cover assessment was in 2014, 2016, and 2018 in which the FA cooperated with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute of Japan (FFPRI), and the Forest Carbon Partnership Fund (FCPF).

Even though several assessments have been done, the only available data are image files and statistical data within the report published, which cannot be used for further spatial analysis. “Spatial analysis is the process of examining the locations, attributes, and relationships of features in spatial data through overlay and other analytical techniques in order to address a question or gain useful knowledge.”2

ODC decided to use the SERVIR Southeast Asia forest cover dataset (2015-2022) to share with the users and make it easier for the public to access and understand. The interactive map, visualization, and detailed information are provided.

SERVIR Southeast Asia dataset

SERVIR Southeast Asia has used annual forest cover time series data. The data input is opened and available data on the Google Earth Engine (GEE). Tree Canopy Cover (TCC) and Tree Canopy Height (TCH) layers, which were collated and delivered by the Global Land Analysis & Discovery of the University of Maryland (GLAD/UMD) team for the Mekong region, are used. The data is created by following the FAO forest definition in which TCC is equal to or greater than 10%, and TCH is higher or equal to 5 meters. “Forest Loss” is defined as a stand-replacement disturbance, or a change from a forest to a non-forest state, during the period. “Forest cover gain” is defined as the inverse of loss or a non-forest-to-forest change entirely within the period.3

Forestry definition

As mentioned above, SERVIR Southeast Asia uses the FAO forest definition, “Forests are lands of more than 0.5 hectares, with a tree canopy cover of more than 10 percent, which is not primarily under agricultural and urban land use.”4 The forest layer includes both rubber and forest plantations that meet the forest definition criteria.

Interactive map

The map reveals a trend in forest cover from 2015-2022 in Cambodia. The users could add more interactive layers, such as natural protected areas, economic land concessions, major foreign investment projects, land cover, mining concessions, etc. to see the bigger picture of forest cover in Cambodia.

Forest cover change trends

The graph illustrates the total area and percentage of forest cover in Cambodia from 2015 to 2022. Cambodia's forest cover has decreased slightly from 43.21% in 2015 to 40.17% in 2022, according to the graph.

Cambodia is a country in mainland Southeast Asia and covers a total area of 181,035 square kilometers. Cambodia is divided into four distinct geographical regions. The four regions of Cambodia are as follows:

  • Cardomom and Elephant Mountains: Battambang, Pailin, Pursat, Kampong Speu, Koh Kong, Kampot, Kep, and Preah Sihanouk provinces.
  • Mekong Lowlands: Kampong Thom, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Cham, Prey Veng, Phnom Penh, Kandal, Svay Rieng, Tboung Kmoum, and Takeo provinces.
  • Northwestern: Banteay Meanchey, Oddar Meanchey, Siem Reap, and Preah Vihear provinces.
  • Eastern: Ratanakiri, Mondulkiri, Stung Treng, and Kratie provinces.

To provide more specific statistics to users, the total area of forest cover in each region is calculated. However, there is a minor error in calculating the total area of each region ranging from 0.20% to 0.50% because the used BaseMap differs from the SERVIR Southeast Asia BaseMap.

The line graph shows that the Eastern region has the highest total forest cover of the four regions, while the Mekong Lowland has the least. Between 2015 and 2022, forest cover in the Eastern and Northwestern regions decreased noticeably. The Mekong Lowlands and the Cardamom and Elephant Mountains were regions that saw an increase in forest cover.


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