Bung Boraphet, the largest freshwater wetland in Thailand, now has a comprehensive Plan of Management following the recent completion of the Ramsar Small Grants Fund project, Sustainable Water Use Plan for Bung Boraphet. Based on the principles of wise use, the Plan focuses on managing the competing and intensifying demands on the wetland, including fishing, rice growing and ecotourism, and to address mounting evidence of resource over-exploitation and significant ecosystem change.
The Department of Water Resources, Kasetsart University, Bangkok led the project, which bought together stakeholders from national and regional government agencies, and the local community. The planning process involved the establishment of a bio-physical inventory, including the identification of high value conservation areas and ecosystem services. The inventory is housed on the Internet and is accessible to all site managers. Conceptual models of the wetland hydrology and nutrient budget were developed, and along with tracking satellite imagery, these will be used as decision support tools for managers. As part of the project, three case study articles were published in journals and/or presented at international conferences.
Based upon the detailed inventory work undertaken in the first stages of the project, the Plan of Management was developed to guide future management decisions. It includes provision for the establishment of a site Steering Committee to integrate the management actions of the various agencies, and specific actions to ensure the considered water management to prevent over-exploitation and loss of hydrological values of the wetland. To guide implementation, the Plan includes a detailed monitoring and evaluation strategy, as well as identifying important sources of funding to support prescribed future actions.
The Plan of Management provides a framework for implementation by the various agencies involved in the management of Bung Boraphet wetlands.