Community Participation in Mangrove Forest Management and Rehabilitation in Southern Thailand

10/06/1997

(10 June 1997)


With funding from the European Community, the Prince of Songkla University and Wetlands International recently initiated a 3-year mangrove restoration project in Southern Thailand. The project aims to contribute to the restoration and sustainable use of mangrove forest resources in Southern Thailand through the development of community-based resource use management practices.

The project will serve to demonstrate that mangrove forests have the ability to strengthen regional prosperity of local communities who, in turn, will be able to manage the mangrove resources themselves. Several government departments and local NGOs are involved in the project to advise, monitor and evaluate the activities. During the first year, the project will assess the past and current distribution of mangrove forests in Southern Thailand, identify key issues related to the loss and degradation of mangroves, document traditional uses of mangrove products and their economic significance, review the socio-economic status of local communities reliant upon mangrove environments, and develop an alternative mangrove management strategy for Southern Thailand.

In a pilot-study, the project is working with local communities in the Pattani Bay area to replant over 100 hectares of mangroves in areas degraded by logging for charcoal or abandoned after being used for intensive shrimp farming. Besides planting of mangroves, the project provides support for alternative income-generating initiatives, works on environmental awareness, community organisation, training of community leaders and distributes information on the project's progress through newsletters (in various languages), local radio- and television broadcastings and the production of various reports and publications.

For further information on the project, contact: Wetlands Intl

Dr. Paul Erftemeijer, Wetlands International-Thailand Programme, P.O. Box 21, Si Phuwanat, Hat Yai 90113, Thailand (tel/fax: +66-74-429307; e-mail: epaul@ratree.psu.ac.th)

Rebecca D'Cruz, Regional Coordinator for Asia, Ramsar Convention Bureau (tel: +41 22 999 0177, fax: +41 22 999 0169)


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