Phnom Kulen National Park was designated in 1993 by a Royal Decree of King Norodom Sihanouk. PKNP is named after the evergreen lychee tree species (Litchi chinensis), which is known from this park. PKNP is a 37, 373 ha protected area in North-western Cambodia and lies approximately 50 km north of Siem Reap town with the world heritage’s famous temples of Angkor Wat. Geographically, PKNP with an elevation of up to 500 m is a unique predominantly sandstone geographical feature in the largely flat lowland landscape of northern Cambodia. The park is divided into two distinct plateaus and is the source of the Siem Reap River and a critical part of the upper water shed catchment for Siem Reap Province. PKNP is not only Cambodia’s most sacred mountain and of immense spiritual, cultural and historical value, but also rich in biodiversity.
It is officially managed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Environment (MOE), but it is comanaged by different key institutions. Thus, certain areas of archaeological value1 are managed by the APSARA (Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap). Within MOE mandate, there are five Community Protected Areas (CPAs) which have been established and managed by local villagers but under supervision and support from MOE.