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Project News


Study tour to Thailand

From 1st to 9th March 2015, the project organized a study tour to Northern Thailand. The tour was attended by eight participants from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Dien Bien Province; and the People's Committees of Dien Bien District, Muong Cha District, Dien Bien Phu City, Moung Phang Commune, Muong Muon Commune, and Nam Thanh Ward. The purposes of this tour were 1) to gain knowledge on community forest and natural resource management in Northern Thailand, 2) to experience a variety of the sustainable forest management models in Northern Thailand, and 3) to explore community forestry's potential in promoting sustainable livelihoods. The participants visited Northern Thailand, including Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai Provinces, which has similar in topography with Dien Bien Province with ethnic populations. This is the reason why Northern Thailand was selected as a destination for the tour.

On the first day, the participants visited the headquarters of the Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC). The participants received a briefing on the study tour program, schedule, and other introduction. It was followed by four-day field visits to Northern Thailand including (a) the Mae Hor Phra teak plantation and (b) an agro-forestry site in Mae Tha Sub-district in Chiang Mai Province as well as (c) Huay Hin Lahd Nai Village and (d) a private coffee farm in Doi Chang Village in Chiang Rai Province. At the end of the tour, they had a wrap-up meeting to review their experiences during the tour.

The first visit, the Mae Hor Phra teak plantation is managed by Forest Industry Organization (FIO). FIO is a national enterprise in Thailand for forestry and hires villagers for livelihood development. This organization aims at not only benefits but also eco-friendly plantation management. They produce, for instance, organic fertilizer, mixing manure with twigs and leaf litters collected from the plantation. The second visit was the community-managed agro-forestry site in Mae Tha Sub-district. The community is well organized, shares information among villagers, and make important decisions for management. The third one was a small village, Huay Hin Lahd Nai, where huge natural forest is still remaining. The village manages natural resources wisely through zoning of areas for protection and use. The final visit was to the private coffee farm in Doi Chang Village. This village is located in high altitude with suitable soil for coffee cultivation. The case of Doi Chang is a good example of successful business, which takes advantage of local natural conditions. Through the above visits, the participants learned about various types of forest management and livelihoods development at different administrative levels (national, sub-district, village levels) and sectors (public and private).

After coming back to Vietnam, the participants had a debriefing meeting on the study tour. What they learnt from the tour are as follows:

1) In Northern Thailand, the Government does not provide direct support to local people on forest management, but the support is provided through investment to improve infrastructure and promote sustainable livelihoods development in the area. Villagers' income from forests is small; however, their self-awareness on the importance of forests to their life helps promote forest protection and maintenance given that the amount of government subsidy for forest planting, maintenance, and protection is limited. Community-based forest management should be fostered by a combination of traditional practices and statutory regulations.

2) Agro-forestry models, in which a number of tree species are mix-planted, are generating income for villagers throughout a year and linked with the existing market.

PhotoGroup photograph in Mae Hor Phra teak plantation

PhotoAgro-forestry in in Mae Tha Sub-district

PhotoThe village in the mountain, Huay Hin Lahd Nai Village

PhotoWrap up meeting in Chiang Rai


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