LOCAL LIVELIHOODS

EDUCATION

The youth of today and tomorrow will carry the torch to a sustainable future – and bear the costs if we do not act. We run daily educational programs and organise field trips for local schoolchildren to help them understand the importance of sustainability and our connection to nature in appropriate terms. We also directly support several local schools by donating supplies, food, and teaching English.

But learning is not just for kids! CNF donates a significant amount of our seedlings to locals free of charge, and more importantly, we work with them to understand the utility of each species and how it might suit their needs. We are also working to develop workshops at our tree nursery and restoration sites to help local landowners understand the potential value of multi-purpose trees and other agricultural best management practices. These dialogues are not one-way, but they also help us understand the history, culture, and priorities of our community and how we can best serve them.

But learning is not just for kids! CNF donates a significant amount of our seedlings to locals free of charge, and more importantly, we work with them to understand the utility of each species and how it might suit their needs. We are also working to develop workshops at our tree nursery and restoration sites to help local landowners understand the potential value of multi-purpose trees and other agricultural best management practices. These dialogues are not one-way, but they also help us understand the history, culture, and priorities of our community and how we can best serve them.

AGROFORESTRY SYSTEMS (AFS)

Agroforestry is an ancient and widely implemented system in the Thai highlands. Several types of agroforestry systems – living fences, taungya, forest gardens, home gardens, and successional agroforestry – may be applied depending on the driver of degradation and the interest or investment of local landowners.

  • Taungya systems combining teak (Tectona grandis) and upland rice have been demonstrated to improve fallows and diversify income.
  • Alley cropping in 5mx5m systems with mangos (Mangifera indica) and rice, tobacco, or maize have already been successfully implemented in the Northern Thai highlands.
  • Successional agroforestry may be applied at the edges of agricultural areas with multi-purpose trees aimed toward erosion control, mitigating landslide risk, and nitrogen fixation (Cassia fistula, Bauhinia purpurea) or bearing fruit (Mangifera indica, Dimocarpus longan, Litchi chinensis, Artocarpus heterophyllus). These systems would work best on land with high potential of abandonment to transition land back toward natural forest cover while providing benefit to local smallholders.
  •  Any of these multi-purpose trees may also be planted as living fences or in home-gardens.

Another way to address land degradation related to excess anthropogenic fire is improved access to natural forests by locals for the cultivation of Pa miang or “jungle tea” or the harvesting of lucrative wild mushrooms called Hed thob (Astraeus hygrometricus). Many fires are set to make these mushrooms easier to locate –  Forest gardens may be established to sustainably harvest mushroom species without the need to set fire in the forest.

COMMUNITY-BASED FIRE MANAGEMENT

An average of 178 km2 (~8% of the total district land area) in Pai is burned annually. The early onset of prescribed fire-setting combined with the hot, dry transition monsoons have contributed to extremely hazardous air quality conditions for several months of the year. An air quality sensor installed at Pai Hospital in 2013 shows that each year since, the Air Quality Index (AQI) – an index that normalizes measures of particulate matter PM2.5 and PM10, ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) and Carbon Monoxide (CO) emissions – has exceeded the maximum score of 500. Depending on the local climate patterns, especially wind speed, the Pai and Muang Paeng Valleys may be inundated with smog between February and June..

The myriad sources of widespread fires in Pai District locally and Southeast Asia broadly remain poorly understood. Due to the considerable complexity, uncertainty, and sensitivity of this topic, CNF is developing an engagement strategy to reveal the values (and costs) of fire practices in Pai District. Consisting of both a qualitative survey and a non-market valuation discrete choice experiment, we hope to capitalize on the trust we’ve been built with local communities to understand, in essence, who is burning and why.

We hope that this data will help us coordinate the broader district community to develop participatory “burn smarter” policies and open avenues for community management with local RFD and DNP representatives, including:

    • Community fire breaks and volunteer fire patrols.
    • Desynchronized private land burnings coordinated with other smallholders and local weather conditions.
    • The possibility of combining the values provided by forest fires (lucrative fire-adapted mushroom cultivation, hunting, cultural and traditional values) with the need for better public forest management to allow locals to set controlled fires in forests that need thinning and reduced fuel loads under the supervision of the RFD.

We hope that this data will help us coordinate the broader district community to develop participatory “burn smarter” policies and open avenues for community management with local RFD and DNP representatives, including:

    • Community fire breaks and volunteer fire patrols
    • Desynchronized private land burnings coordinated with other smallholders and local weather conditions.
    • The possibility of combining the values provided by forest fires (lucrative fire-adapted mushroom cultivation, hunting, cultural and traditional values) with the need for better public forest management to allow locals to set controlled fires in forests that need thinning and reduced fuel loads under the supervision of the RFD

OUR NETWORK

Want to find out more? Send us a message!

Want to contribute to our cause?

Conserve Natural Forests was built and continues to grow thanks to the generosity of like-minded people who support our work. We would not be where we are today without their help. If you would like to know more about how you can contribute toward restoring Thailand’s beautiful ecosystems and saving endangered species, please consider donating to one of our projects.

Want to contribute to our cause?

Conserve Natural Forests was built and continues to grow thanks to the generosity of like-minded people who support our work. We would not be where we are today without their help. If you would like to know more about how you can contribute toward restoring Thailand’s beautiful ecosystems and saving endangered species, please consider donating to one of our projects.

Want to find out more? Send us a message!

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Find us online and follow us on our journey.

Building a sustainable future, one tree at a time.

info@conservenaturalforests.org

Sign up to receive regular updates from cnf

Find us online and follow us on our journey.

Building a sustainable future, one tree at a time.

info@conservenaturalforests.org