Forest Conservation and Restoration Process for Solving Poverty Problem
Loung Nuae Municipality

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Thailand current forest situation has reduced to 37% of planted area if compared to the past 50 years before now. Since 1962, forest area in the northern region of the country is 56% of planted area according to data from the department of forestry, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in 2013 this was caused by Thai past government concession. From 1953 to 1989, the effect of the forest concession area in 12,413 acre occurs in Doi Saket district, Chiangmai province. In 1960, the citizens started to buy elephants for the purpose of logging trees and started cutting down trees for commercial purpose in which they choose as their main source of income, because it provide income for them and their families, which in turns upgrade their economic status and allow them to live buoyantly. In 1989, Thailand government announced the closing of forest concessions throughout the country, which as a result affect the citizen in the Kuang upper basin area consist of the following. (1) Loung Nuae Sub-district (2) Pa Miang Sub-district (3) Mae Pong Sub-district (4) Cherng Doi Sub-district (5) Thep Sadej Sub-district Doi-Saket District and (6) Huay Kaew Sub-district Mae oon District Chiangmai Province. Alltogether 55 villages and a population of 27, 032 people are jobless and a problem from the effect of drought occurs in the area. Thereby, sending negative signal to the lifestyle of the people in the Kuang upper basin area, which also lead to the lack of water usage for consumption and agriculture within the area. The income of the people in the area become very low because of government closure of forest concession. This makes the people in the area to engage in deforestation by smuggling trees to wide manner. Thereby, result to the sharp deterioration of the forest and give birth to various forest problems such as forest fire outbreaks on several occasions that send bad signal to the health of the people in the area. From the important area data survey carried out in 1994, most of the population in Doi Saket district has low income below the national standard with average family income of 14, 483 bath/person/year from the 15, 000 baht/person/year national standard. This result to the migration of working age population in the area of Kuang upper basin to other places. Hereby leads to another problem of aged population, women and children are been left alone to take care of their selves in the village. From the situation of the problem, which occurs since 1994, the population in the area started to learn and adapt their relationships into joint participation and sustainable development between humans and forest in a form operating a project called “Forest Conservation and Restoration Process for Solving Poverty Problems.” To enable the forest restore its fertility, which is going to allow people live happily with forest in harmony. It is the source of 4 factors in the lifestyle of the people in the community, which result to occupation and income to the family.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
Drive the forest conservation and restoration process for solving poverty problems by using the traditional believe of rituals and traditional ceremony. Which, give birth to the formation of conservation network in Kuang upper basin as the main mechanism in offering required knowledge until the conservation and restoration of the forest became more fertile under the village rules and regulation of joint usage of the forest resources. This allow everybody get access to the usage of forest resources equally.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The usage of local resources to maintain trees in the forest. Forest life prolonging ceremony and water ceremonies for forest tress, merits to the weir spirit, which is a tradition and believe in the Buddhist religion mostly inherited from the people in Kuang upper basin area. They respect their priest and monks, which makes them to use the above-mentioned idea to enable the people honour, respect, believe and have faith in the religion. Therefore, they took that advantage, thereby; create an awareness that cutting down of trees is a sin. They continue by embarking on the Ong-kan Chaeng Nam ritual ceremony for all the people in the village. This makes nobody in the village dare not to cut down trees. These ritual ceremonies is symbolical and physiological expression, which have been in operation since 2009. These methods really works and there was no stop to the cutting down of tress. The above mention method have taken place 48 times and there has been environmental seminar since 1998 for 180 times up till today. 9,000 have engaged in the seminar since it’s inception, including a database containing natural resources, forest, wild life and water since 2004. The data are been updated periodically with the use of information and technology systems. It’s also used in contacting and communicating with both government and non-governmental forest conservation and restoration networks so as to use it as an efficient management data source of forest conservation and restoration. Which is in accordance to the development goal and community rules under the local community law of joint usage of the forest resources. This makes everybody in the community get equal access to the usage of forest natural resources. Hereby, result to sustainability in the usage of forest natural resources and enable the community become a source of occupation to the people in the locality. Including tourism, job creation, occupation creation and income creation to the people. Thereby, increase the economic status and average income of the family above the national standard of Thailand. This serves as an indication that the people in the Kuang upper basin area are free from poverty. Mind reforestation by developing a work co-operation with conservation and restoration networks from database including linked evidence of forest degradation in Kuang upper basin area has several networks, which operate relating to the conservation and restoration of forest resources, wild life and water. E.g. forestry department, army agencies, department of national parks, wildlife and plant conservation and local governments. Apart from these, there are some other private organizations such as Escort volunteers of village resources and NGO’s which have the duty of supporting participation within the people. The above mention working method is been operated through integrated committee members of forest resources in Kuang upper basin area together with the use of information technology system in coordination process. E.g. Line and Facebook in order to serve as a work mechanism thereby leads to efficient fast practical practice. The opening of environment seminar in order to transfer knowledge pertaining to the conservation and restoration of forest to new youth and children from one generation to another. To enable them understand and be cautious of the importance of forest, which is the source of herbal products used in the cure of diseases and to enable the extension of such knowledge from one community to another local community. This is to help create restoration and conservation process of forest resources which is operated in every region in Thailand which positively affect the environment and development of the country that possess sustainable forest resources based on the fertile forest reserves.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Mind reforestation is a way of creating knowledge, understanding and consciousness in people of the community by relying on the participation process of government, private and NGO’s organization networks. E.g. creating of watershed dams, planting of more trees in the deforest areas. Including the use of local traditional rites in order to persuade the people to love forest thereby, increase the fertility rate of the forest to become a source of food, tourism site and create occupation for the people in the community under the law and rules of the local community. Eventually leads to the usage of forest resources equally for the benefits of everybody.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The operation of doing the proper thing in Kuang upper basin area, which is to reduce and stop the cutting down of trees and deforestation, and also increase the income of the population in the community in order to solve poverty problem. The mentioned process include the following. 5.1 Group of forest conservation and restoration Kuang upper basin area. They are involved in forest survey, patrols, plant more trees, prevent forest fire outbreak, take care of forest resources in the community, create a consciousness, stage, environmental camps in order to take care of natural resources and environment. 5.2 Loung Nuae municipality participation relates directly to the people in terms of operation with community leader and the people of the community, impacting on them knowledge and understanding required including financial budgets used in the organization of different activities in order to conserve and restore the forest resources. 5.3 Department of forestry, National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation are involved in the supporting of deforestation and smuggling of trees. Including knowledge transfer on how to conserve and restore the forest to the community and thereby extend the knowledge to other communities. 5.4 The people in Kuang upper basin area are involved in taking good care of the forest resources. Including co-operation with related agency in terms of practice. They also benefit from already conserved and restored forest resources. E.g. Natural food from the forest and water source and it leads to occupation availability. 5.5 NGO organizations and private sectors example: Coca Cola Thailand Public company Ltd. in the supporting of financial expenses and rendering of useful knowledge in the conserving and restoring of forest resources in Kuang upper basin area. The activity operation according to the project, which is to allow the people benefit from this innovation in Kuang upper basin.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
6.1 Strategy to push the project forward are determined by the participation of every sector related to the moving forward of the project which consist of 4 main strategy such as; 6.1.1 Strategy 1 Develop working participation with conservation network from information and evidence linked to forest deforestation in the area of Kuang upper basin. There are related networks who practice the operation of taking care, conserving of forest resources e.g. forestry department, army agencies, wildlife and plant conservation and local governments. Apart from these, there are some other private organizations such as Escort volunteers of village resources and NGO’s operated through integrated committee members of forest resources in Kuang upper basin area together with the use of information technology system in coordination process. E.g. Line and Facebook in order to serve as a work mechanism thereby leads to efficient fast practical practice since 1994 until date. 6.1.2 Strategy 2 The making of environment seminar in Kuang upper basin in order to transfer knowledge pertaining to the conservation and restoration of forest to new youth and children from one generation to another. 6.1.3 Strategy 3 Database creation of forest resources and water source in Kuang upper basin area, which is going to be efficiently useful in the management of forest resources according to the development plan of 2007. 6.1.4 Strategy 4: The implementation of village laws on matter pertaining to joint usage of forest resources allow everybody get equal accessibility to the use of forest resources. 6.2 Resources: the resources used in moving the operation forward so as to create a powerful force in helping the project become successful according to it’s specified objective are been divided into 4 sector 6.2.1 Personnel: human resources consist of 2 parts such as government personnel e.g. staff of Loung Nuae Municipality, department of forestry staffs and the people of Kuang upper basin area including private sector NGO and other religious leader in the area. 6.2.2 Budgets: budgets are from 2 sources. The budget of local governments, and donations from private sector e.g. upstream dam budget from Thailand cement company etc. 6.2.3 Materials and equipment: satellite data map and GPS were been used as the forest resource database showing the position of dams. Including the pinpoint of forest planted area and other valuable things in the area. Computers were been used to calculate the result of the data in order to efficiently arrange the data and make it useful in the management of area. 6.2.4 Local Intellects: local ritual rites are brought in to conserve and preserve trees in the forest. Forest life prolonging ceremony, water ceremonies for forest tress, merits to the weir spirit are all been utilized in the restoration process of conserving and preserving the forest so as the help solve poverty problem.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
7.1 The main participator in the operation of the project is Loung Nuae municipality. They took responsibility in the operational process together with the people and networks in of Kuang upper basin area on the conservation and restoration process through community stage. To enable them use it as a guideline in the operation of project. That is planning together, decide together, and learn together. Moreover, assess the projects together and correct the how to operate efficiently. 7.2 Operational sponsor groups: They are personnel from educational institution e.g. Chiangmai University, Private sectors organization, NGO including religious leaders all gave and helping hand in terms of material and equipment support used for project with some managerial knowledge, which will be need to in managing forest resources to those related so as to make the practice fruitful.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
8.1 Starting from the inception of forest conservation and restoration process to help solve poverty problem in 1992. They set a goal of planting forest tress of 79 acre per year. Which is directly in accordance with the sustainable development goal (SDGs 13, 15). 8.2 It allow several job creation in the village. E.g. creek allocation groups, rearing of bee, community minimart groups. From the necessary fundamental data of department of community development in 1994 shows that most of the people in the community are below the standard of necessary fundamental data in terms of average family income of 14, 483 baht per person per year from the normal standard of 15, 000 per person per year. But, after the forest conservation and restoration process which create several job availability, it allow the average income per person to increase to a total of 83, 146 baht per person per year from the national standard of 30,000 per person per year in 2016. This shows that the conservation and restoration process of forest, which took place since 1992 until date positively increase the people standard of living. Most especially in terms of average income increase. This is in accordance with the sustainable development goal (SDGs 1, 2, 3). 8.3 It help gives birth to natural tourist attraction sites such as Pa Sak Ngam waterfall, natural forest cave water which become the tourist attraction site of the village and help create income for the people in the community. Survey research shows that the people of Pa Sak Ngam has and increase income from tourism. 8.4 The total amount of water in Mae Kuang Dam in 2016 increase to 110 million square meter. If compared to December 2015 it only has 30 million square meter. 8.5 There are 131 forest fire outbreaks, which occurs in Kuang upper basin area in 2016. If compared with 2015, which occurs 232 times, there is an explicit reduction of 43.53% in 101 times. 8.6 The survey of tree species and small living things in the forest of Kuang upper basin area done by Chaingmai University discover that the forest has champagne mushroom, which can only be found in fertile forests. This is an indication that the forest in Kuang upper basin has now regain restoration according to the conservation and restoration of forest in the area.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The villagers that engage in deforestation and smuggling of trees lack consciousness, they did not accept the project of restoring the forest, which is to help solve poverty problem at the first stage. We have to use a method of letting group and community leaders help make the people understand the important of creating a joint ideology. Change the way they think and take them on study exchange trips that allow them study how to conserve and restore forest resources and thereby extend it to other community. A community stage was been created in order to transfer knowledge to the people in the community hereby, paving a way for them to have the right attitude towards conserving and restoring of forest resources in order to allow the smooth operation of the project. Investors who engage on deforestation and smuggling of tress challenge the officers with huge problems by employing some members in the community to disrupt the work of the officers and reject the operation of the project. In terms of benefits allocation from forest resources, some villagers still did not trust each other, which eventually lead to conflicts. This was been solved by implementing village laws concerning joint usage forest resources. This allow everybody get equal access to the usage of forest resources. Operation problem in the area is still powered on the officer, if the officer of Loung Nuae and conscious villagers and other volunteers did not take care the of the forest resources in the area, by now it may have been overtaken by investors and other unwanted personalities. In order to prevent this, a joint memorandum was made in order to efficiently work together and have a meeting every month to explain the past months operations.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
10.1 The people in Kuang upper basin area with a total number of 232 households, 318 people benefit in terms of household income. It shows that income from necessary fundamental data of 2016 equals 83, 146 baht per person per year, which is an increase if compared with 2013 of 68,636 baht per person and in 2012 equal 40, 802 baht per person per year. Income from tourism in Kuang upper basin area allow increased amount of money circulation in the community. In 2008 there was income of 350,000 baht per year in 2013 there was income of 4,670,00 baht per year and in 2016 there was increased income of 8,940,000 baht which is as a result of the forest conservation and restoration project in order to solve poverty problem. This makes the people in the area of Kuang upper basin have an increased income above the national standard and allow them to be free from poverty. 10.2 The assessment of the population health by department of public health and environment Loung Nuae municipality shows that there have been reduction in the number of people who suffer from respiratory disease. In 2013 with a total number of 705 people, in 2014 704 people, 2015 620 people and in 2016 there were 215 people. This is an information, which factualize that forest resources and regaining their flourishness. There is reduce forest fire outbreak, which, positively reflect in the health of the population in the area. Thereby, their expenses in terms of curing diseases reduced adversely. 10.3 The above-mentioned operation positively allow some people to benefit from the activity such as freshwater fish of Mae Kuang Udom Thara dam which is the source of water resources, agricultural groups who use water for the agricultural projects. There was enough water for agricultural activities in Mae Kuang Udom Thara dam of about 175, 000 rai. Regional tap water which has a total number of 4 district using it’s service such as Doi Saket District, Sansai, Sankhampaeng and some other part in Chiangmai district. Altogether a total number of 107,961 households.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
In the forest conservation and restoration process to help solve poverty problem of Loung Nuae municipality as the main agency. They operate the project with a joint co-ordination with department of forestry and police officer of Doi Saket Police station whom implement strict forest law on anybody that engage on deforestation and made arrest on small groups. There is village law creation in terms of joint usage of the resources. This makes the people have equal access to the use of the resources and thereby extend the rules and regulations to other villages in Kuang upper basin area. Moreover, they were able to protect the hunting of wildlife animals by outsider in the area. The process of knowledge creation and cautiousness in order to conserve and restore forest resources allow the people to be cautious and they became volunteers in helping government forest officers take good care of the forest. Including the cross checking of enforced laws of the forestry department that it does not only benefit the investors of tree smugglers.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
The village law, which allow joint usage of forest resources by everyone makes everybody be it children, ladies or less privilege, have equal access to the usage of forest resources. The problem of working age migration to other places reduced, as a result of that allow families live happily together. There was increase income in the forest resources and it positively affect the people standard of living to be better.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Loung Nuae Municipality
Institution Type:   Local Government  
Contact Person:   Areeluk Salidkaew
Title:   Director  
Telephone/ Fax:   +(66)53866077
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   areeluks13@gmail.com  
Address:   299 loung nuae doisaket chiangmai
Postal Code:   50220
City:   Doisaket
State/Province:   Chiang mai
Country:  

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