What is going on?

South East Asia is a region of high biodiversity and endemism, but at the same time it is under threat of increasing deforestation, habitat loss, pollution, degradation, poaching and hunting. These characteristics make it one of Earth’s biodiversity hot-spots as classified by the major international conservation organizations (IUCN, CI, WNF).

One of the more developed countries in this region is Thailand. Thailand has lost the majority of its natural forest but still there are some significant remnants, mainly in Northern Thailand. Under the current law 13% of the kingdom’s total surface has a protected status (i.e. National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries).

This, however, does not mean that these areas are not threatened. The need for additional land still encroaches into the protected areas. Local investors build new resorts or farmers are continually looking for new land opportunities subsequently resulting in the former land being left unattended and degraded. Uncontrolled development and unsustainable use of natural resources have led to degraded soils, water pollution and the subsequent health and economic consequences for mainly rural communities scattered all over Thailand.

Our Goal

We aim to develop and implement sustainable agricultural practices and natural resource management schemes, based upon scientific research and local ecological knowledge to improve livelihoods of rural communities and reduce threats to biodiversity and natural resources in the Kamphaeng Phet region. Our extensive research on the natural environment, health and agricultural practices will form the basis for the agricultural practices and resource management schemes to be developed.
The findings will be put to practices in a highly attractive show-case farm that will be running in tight collaboration with the local Thai family. This farm will function as an awareness and education center for local farmers interested in learning about sustainable farming. A Thai representative will be trained to inform and convince local farmers about sustainable farming as well as guiding them through the process of changing practices.
Finally we aim to develop a network of sustainable farms in the region to mediate the landscape contrast in between eight national parks with a total size of 4000 km2. This will not only improve local livelihoods and biodiversity but also set an example for surrounding provinces and ultimately neighboring countries.
Our projects will be focusing upon reducing the loss of biodiversity, habitat destruction and pollution as well as more humanitarian topics like reducing poverty, prostitution and increasing accessibility to public health care. We are working according a road-map that consists of the following five steps:

Step 1
The first step is to fully investigate the current state of the region. This includes inventorying and mapping biodiversity, agricultural and industrial practices, pollution, poverty and all the problems related to these issues. This step is the base for prioritising the following steps.

Step 2
Step two consists of winning trust, spreading awareness and educating the local community. In the Thai culture it is unacceptable to criticize or to be criticized in public, thus a positive approach is the only approach.

Step 3
The third step is to develop practices for agriculture and industry that are less harmful for health and nature and are more efficient. This involves more research and possible tests in experimental settings. The development of natural resource management schemes will also represent part of this step.

Step 4
In the fourth step these developed practices will be put into practice. An important part will be restoration measures such as planting Vetiver grasses or trees to prevent/encounter soil erosion, reduce heavy metals in paddy rice fields and restore natural habitats. Equally important is the development of a showcase farm in tight collaboration with a Thai family. This small sustainable farm and house will attract the attention of more locals that might be willing to change their practices. This showcase principle is also going to be applied for a local manufacturing company.

Step 5
The final step comprises re-assessing the situation and evaluating the success of our projects which would subsequently lead to new approaches, new priorities or the expansion of the region.