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Location Cambodia, Kampong Thom,Siem Reap
Central coordinates 104o 14.00' East  12o 51.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, A4iii
Area 39,405 ha
Altitude 4 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2003

BirdLife Indochina Programme (BirdLife Direct Action Programme)

Site description The IBA comprises of the open wetlands and swamp forest of the Boeung Chhmar Core Area of Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve and the adjacent Moat Khla area to the north. Boeung Chhmar is a permanent, 4,000 ha lake, surrounded by flooded swamp forest, comprising tall (7-15 m high) gallery forest and fairly homogeneous stands of short (2-4 m high) trees and scrub. Boeung Chhmar is linked to Tonle Sap Lake by a maze of channels and streams. Moat Khla is an area of flooded swamp forest, characterised by a dense network of interconnected channels and shallow creeks, running parallel to the lakeshore, bordered by tall (7-15 m high) gallery forest, dominated by Barringtonia acutangula and Diospyros cambodiana. Boeung Chhmar has been designated as a Ramsar site.Boeung Chhmar is clearly one of the important feeding sites for large waterbirds in Cambodia, particularly in the post-breeding period, and regularly supports significant numbers of Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis, Indian Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscicollis, Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala and Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius. In addition, Masked Finfoot Heliopais personata has been recorded at Moat Khla.

Key Biodiversity 

Non-bird biodiversity: Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis) known to occur at Moat Khla, but local people reperted that now is very rare. IUCN category - critically endangered. The flooded forest is extremely important for many fish species (Rainboth 1996). The flooded forest represents and important and unique botanical community (McDonald et al. 1997).Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis), Silvered Langur (Semnopithecus cristatus)Asiatic Softshell Turtle (Amyda cartilaginea), Malayan Box Turtle (Cuora ambionensis), Malayan Snail-eating Turtle (Malayemys subtrijuga), Yellow-headed Temple Turtle (Hieremys annandalii), Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greater Adjutant Leptoptilos dubius unknown  1998  rare  A1, A4i  Endangered 
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  1998  uncommon  A1  Vulnerable 
Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala resident  1998  abundant  A4i  Near Threatened 
Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus resident  1998  rare  A4i  Near Threatened 
Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis resident  1998  abundant  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 
Indian Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscicollis unknown  1998  abundant  A4i  Least Concern 
Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster resident  1998  common  A4i  Near Threatened 
Masked Finfoot Heliopais personatus breeding  1998  rare  A1  Endangered 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds unknown  1998  20,000 individuals  unknown  A4iii   

IBA Monitoring

2009 very high unfavourable high
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Biological resource use hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Biological resource use logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - nutrient loads happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high

Forest   0 0 moderate (70-90%) moderate (70-90%) unfavourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  high 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Boeng Chmar and Associated River System and Floodplain Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 28,000 protected area contained by site 28,000  
Boeng Tonle Chhmar Multiple Use Management Area - Core Area 14,560 protected area contained by site 14,560  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Ephemeral wetlands; Freshwater lakes and pools; Permanent swamps; Rivers and streams  -
Forest   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -

Protection status Moat Khla/Boeung Chhma Core Area, Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve, is contianed by IBA

Further web sources of information 

Site account from Directory of Important Bird Areas in Cambodia: key sites for conservation (Seng Kim Hout 2003)

References Edwards, P.J. (1996) Cambodia wetlands ornithological survey. Xenus Ecology. Newmarket, UK.Edwards, P.J. (1996) Recent waterbird surveys in Cambodia. Forktail 15: 29-42.Goes F., Hong Chamnan, Suon Mean, Luon Keng and Meas Rethy. 1998. Waterbird counting and survey at Prek Toal and Boeng Chhma/Moat Khla. May - June 1998. Tonle Sap Technical Coordination Unit/Ministry of Environment. Phnom Penh.Goes F. and Hong C. (2002). The status and conservation of large waterbirds on the Tonle Sap Great Lake, Cambodia 2000-2001. Wildlife Conservation Society, Phnom Penh.McDonald, A., Pech, B., Phauk, V. and Leeu, B. (1997). Plant communities of the Tonle Sap floodplain. UNESCO, IUCN, WI and SPEC, Phnom Penh.Mundkur, T., Carr, P., Sun Hean and Chhim Somean 1995. Surveys for large waterbirds in Cambodia. March - April 1994. Cambridge, UK: IUCN/SSC.Parr, J. W. K., Eames, J. C., Sun Hean, Hong Chammnan, Som Han, Vi La Pich and Seng Kim Hout 1996. Biological and social aspects of waterbird exploitation and natural resource utilization of Prek Toal, Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia. Cambridge, UK: IUCN/SSC.Pich Bunnat and Long Kheng (2001.) Survey on reptiles and waterbirds at Boeung Tonle Chhmar and Moat Khla on 25-29 October 2001. Unpublished report, Wildlife Conservation Society, Cambodia.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Boeung Chhmar / Moat Khla. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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