Removing forest people not the solution to Thailand’s flood woes

A recent article in The Nation reports that “activists and experts” have called on the Thai government to “remove” as many as two million people from mountainous parts of the country in an effort to head off future natural disasters. The headline, however, distracts readers from the more nuanced message intended by these activist and expert groups.

“Govt called for moving 2m pp from mountain zones,” the headline reads; but this position was merely the “strongest” proposal put forward among more moderate options at a seminar titled “Headwater Forest Strategy and the Way to Prevent Flood and Drought,” held in Bangkok on 29 March.

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Local Wisdom and Modern Science: Community-based Mangrove Restoration Research

RECOFTC supports Trat’s local knowledge center in combining the strengths of traditional and modern knowledge systems.

Photos and story by Estelle Srivijittakar

Rattika Pettongma, Supaporn Panwaree, Korakot Loisament, Loong Mongkol, Wasan Faotanom

Rattika Pettongma, Supaporn Panwaree, Korakot Loisament, Loong Mongkol, Wasan Faotanom

Pred Nai Village, Trat, Thailand: As many people look forward to the opening of Trat’s Community-based Learning Center (CbLC) on May 9th, 2012, a project funded by Norad and other donors through Mangroves for the Future (MFF), locals can say they’ve contributed to some of the center’s learning materials through their very own community-based mangrove restoration research project. The research, an activity under the CbLC, allows partners like RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests and Thai Fund Foundation (TFF) to work closely with communities in Trat to restore its mangroves and develop local practices for sustainable natural resource management.

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Experts Meeting: Unlocking the Wealth of Forests for Community Development

Rome, 28 March, 2012: Community forestry has the potential to deliver significant economic benefits for local communities. However, this requires that it moves beyond providing mainly subsistence goods to becoming a vehicle for the development of forest enterprises that can contribute to a genuine new forest economy. There is urgent need to remove regulatory bottlenecks and strengthen community institutions to negotiate and tap into profitable markets.

FAO and its partners, ITTO and RECOFTC, organized an Experts Meeting to develop a course of action toward an international initiative to promote the potential of community forests in contributing to sustainable development of community forestry. The meeting was attended by 26 Experts from a range of institutions and organizations from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and USA. Participants hailed from international agencies, government forestry agencies, NGOs, academia, research institutions, private sector, Indigenous groups, and community forestry alliances.

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Mangrove devastation, the importance of tenure, and victories for indigenous communities in the news this week

Alarm Over Mangrove Devastation in Pakistan
Dawn
, 9 March 2012
Speakers at a conference in Pakistan on mangrove ecosystems said that an acute lack of awareness among people and policy makers about the critical importance of mangroves was a major hurdle in conservation efforts along the coast.

Indigenous Groups Launch Ground-Breaking Environmental Regime in Brazil
Forest
Carbon Portal, 9 March 2012
The Brazilian state of Acre has implemented a comprehensive legal framework to support compensation and payments for ecosystem services, and indigenous groups are among the first to begin implementing it.

Land Ownership Boosts Climate Resilience in India
Reuters AlertNet
, 11 March 2012
Efforts to secure land ownership for tribal people in one of India’s poorest states are bolstering their economic security in the face of climate-induced hardships, and helping conserve farmland and forest.
Related article:
The next crop of landowners (March 8, Landesa)

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As the Thai government plans reforestation, local voices must be heard

By Lena Buell, RECOFTC Assistant Communications Officer

Waves approach the mangrove coast in Trat, Thailand, forests, climate change, disasters

Mangrove forests, like this one in Trat, Thailand, can help mitigate the impacts of severe weather events (Photo Credit: Estelle Srivijittakar)

In late February, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announced the government would invest 3 billion baht in reforestation and preservation activities around the country, following an audience with His Royal Highness the King of Thailand in which His Majesty urged the government to focus on reforestation initiatives.

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“The Devil is in the details”: An innovative twist makes bamboo harvesting more profitable

By Claire Fram, ForInfo Project Associate

ForInfo’s team is back in the field in Bokeo Province, Lao PDR. During our first day in Huay Xai, we were reminded of how important it is to use sustainable and appropriate technology at a project site: we went searching for basic items like light bulbs and screws, but came up empty handed.

In Laos, where many of the goods traded in local markets are imported from China or Thailand, you cannot take anything for granted. Standard equipment for harvesting timber is tightly regulated, and the rare chainsaw that you can find is typically poorly made. After a rare chainsaw sighting, ForInfo’s technical adviser Fabian Noeske explained that our work to support three villages in improving land usage may depend on the equipment available to them and, as our senior expert Bernhard Mohns remarked, “The devil is in the details.”

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