Trees for Thailand.

Trees of Thailand.

After working for more than 10 years to develop effective forest restoration practices in northern Thailand, FORRU has also been aiming to develop a deeper understanding of the socio-economic impact of its methods, in order to ensure a socially acceptable approach to scaling up forest restoration from experimental plots to multi-purpose landscapes. “Trees for Thailand” was a 3-year extension project sponsored by Britain's Eden Project between 2005 and 2008. It allowed FORRU to focus on local community groups most likely to succeed with, and benefit from, local forest restoration, and learn about factors crucial for establishing community based reforestation projects.
One of the most important lessons from this project was the difficulty for a small research and education unit to sustain and manage projects throughout a large network 
 f independant communities. It was determined that a unit such as FORRU-CMU can provide more effective training by working with other NGO's and government departments to provide training to existing networks and community projects. This has had a large influence on the current management of the FORRU-CMU education unit, and is showing results with current projects (see Capacity Building Projects: Thailand and International)

Project Objectives
The Trees for Thailand Project supported 12 local community groups in nursery establishment and forest restoration techniques, and also involved community surveys and monitoring of socio-economic impact of forest restoration. 
 ogether with providing on-going extension service in nursery and forest restoration techniques, FORRU's Eden Extension Officers undertook monitoring of the technical success and financial management of the community groups, and facilitated networking amongst all groups to enable experience exchange. Above: Khun Neang from the Hmong village of Ban Mae Sa Mai (nursery manager) teaches villagers from another Hmong village, Ban Pa Nok Kok, about germination and potting techniques, and nursery care of seedlings.

Project Implementation
“Trees for Thailand” began in early 2005, with a detailed socio-economic impact assessment of forest restoration at Ban Mae Sa Mai, in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. Interview techniques and evaluation exercises were developed to determine the opportunity costs and replacement values of such factors as political gain, social stability, prevention of floods, droughts, soil erosion and landslides, water quality & quantity, and provision of forest products.
Eden’s sponsorship of “Trees for Thailand” supported the salaries of 2 Eden Extension Officers (EEO’s), Ms. Sudarat Zangkum and Ms. Tiderach Toktang in the first two years of the project and an additional education officer, Ms. Dutsadee Nirubol, in the 3rd year, as well as the project’s secretary, Mrs. Rungtiwa Bunyayod. EEO’s were responsible for implementing and monitoring all project activities in the field, including disseminating information to the 12 participating communities (technical manuals, newsletters, teaching aids etc.), providing training at extension events and organizing workshops. They administered the small start-up grants, provided to the participating communities and monitored progress with nursery establishment, tree production and planting.
In the project’s first year, a launching workshop was held in June 2005 aimed at identifying suitable communities for join-ing “Trees for Thailand” and preparing them for involvement in the project. During 2005 to 2006, 12 local community groups from upper northern Thailand (see map below), joined the project. The selected groups have made a long-term commitment to the project and have demonstrated that they can ensure a local source of native forest tree seeds, sufficient voluntary labor to run a tree nursery, plant trees and aftercare.
Eden Extension Officers then worked with community leaders/coordinators to plan the establishment of a community tree nursery at each site. Co-ordination, contract preparation and nursery planning for all groups were completed during extension visits by November 2006. All groups received on-site training in nursery techniques, including species selection, seed collection, germination, care of seedlings in nurseries and preparation for planting. Follow-up training was carried out for tree planting techniques and monitoring in 2006-07. A total of 101 training or extension events were run in the villages, averaging about 34 per year, each one run by 2 or 3 of the EEO’s.
Subsequent extension visits continued throughout the year, providing training in species selection and tree propagation techniques, preparation of planting sites and tree planting, as well as silvicultural treatments and monitoring tree performance and biodiversity recovery. Before each planting event, the EEO’s provided training in planting methods and also maintenance of the planted trees (fertilizer application and weeding etc.). The EEO’s returned after the first and second growing seasons to help villagers to monitor the planted trees.
A second workshop was held in February 2005 to address issues that emerged during a mid-project evaluation and to pass on lessons learn by communities who had established nurseries in the project’s first year to those joining in the second. The second workshop addressed funding and sustainability by inviting speakers from government agencies to advise participants how to apply for matching funds.
A final workshop was held on 11th-13th February, 2008 to address issues raised during the final project evaluation. Project sustainability, post-Eden-support, was the focus of the event. Thirty-eight participants from all 12 communities, and guest speakers, joined the event, including government officers from Don Ngern District and Wiang Lor Wildlife Sanctuary in Phayao Province, who worked with CNEM, where one of the project’s community nurseries is located. Other guest speakers included the Chief of the Watershed Management Office, as well as representatives of funding agencies such as Plant a Tree Today (PATT, a foundation in Bangkok), CARE-Rak Thai (an NGO) and a regional representative from the international conservation organization, IUCN.

Trees for Thailand Project Working Sites
Western network ( 7 sites)

  • Ban Kad Wittayakom School & Mae Sapok Community in Mae Wang District of Chiang Mai Province.
  • Wat Mon Huay Keaw temple in Doi Lor District of Chiang Mai Province
  • Ban Pa Nok Kok (Hmong) village in Mae Rim District of Chiang Mai Province
  • Pang Fan Nature Observation Center in Mae Teang District of Chiang Mai Province
  • Ban San Pa Kia (Hmong) village in Chiang Dao District of Chiang Mai province
  • Ban Mae Look (Karen) village in Mae Jeam District of Chiang Mai province
  • Ban Mae Wark village in Mae Jeam District of Chiang Mai province
Eastern network ( 5 sites)
  • The Coordination Center for Natural Resource & Environment Management (CNEM) in Pong District of Payao Province
  • The Fai Beang water conservation group at Ban Beang and Ban Liew in Pong District of Payao Province
  • The Huay Mae Yua water user group at Ban Lai Thung in Chiang Muan District of Payao Province
  • The Ruk Doi Luang Group at Ban Huay Mai in Song District of Phrae Province
  • The Sob Yao Community Learning Center in Pu-phieng District of Nan Province

Project Outputs

  • Maintenance of a team of 3 Eden Extension Officers (EEO’s) and a secretary to implement project activities.
  • The project target to establish 12 community tree nurseries in 4 provinces attained.
  • One hundred and one on-site extension events to train villagers in nursery establishment, tree-growing methods, planting and monitoring.
  • Twenty planting events implemented, over 3 planting seasons in all 12 participating communities; 12,500 trees of 50 tree species, planted over 53.5 rai (about 9 ha).
  • Interview techniques and questionnaires developed and implemented to assess the socio-economic impact of forest restoration activities.
  • Mid-project and 3rd year evaluations completed to identify the strengths and weakness of project implementation.
  • Three workshops in Chiang Mai, for networking and information exchange among all participating communities.
  • Six editions of the project newsletter, with Eden featured prominently.
  • Website enhanced to provide a comprehensive online information service.
  • Three annual reports completed.
Nursery start-up grants were awarded to 7 communities in the 1st year and 5 in the 2nd year, bringing the total number of forest restoration initiatives, supported to the planned target of 12. The communities were located across 4 of Thailand’s Upper North Provinces: Chiang Mai, Phayao, Phrae and Nan. We worked with a great diversity of groups, including both upland and lowland communities, hill tribes, Thais, schoolteachers and pupils, monks and a nature education centre.
We also worked near or in several protected areas, including Doi Chiang Dhao Wildlife Sanctuary, Doi Inthanon National Park, Vieng Low Wildlife Sanctuary and Doi Luang Wildlife Sanctuary. The project evolved into two networks of collaborating communities; a western one in Chiang Mai Province and an Eastern one in Phrae, Phayao and Nan Provinces. The eastern network benefited from a second research nursery and demonstration plot system in lowland deciduous forest, founded in collaboration with the Phrae Campus of Mae Jo University (funded by Thailand’s Biodiversity Research and Training Program).
Six communities, which had established nurseries in the project’s first year, had grown enough saplings to carry out planting events in the rainy season of 2006 (CNEM, Fai Bang, Huay Mae Yua, Ruk Doi Luang, Baan Kad and Pa Nok Kok). These communities planted a combined total of 8,522 trees of 34 tree species over 22.5 rai. In the 2007 planting season, all but one of the participating communities carried out planting events