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RFD – RATCH sign MOU for carrying out “Love the Forest and the Community” project, phase 3 to support community forest area expansion

Bangkok- Due to remarkable achievement of “Love the Forest and the Community” project leading to the expansion of community forest since 2008, the Royal Forest Department (RFD) and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Public Company Limited (RATCH) decided to enter into the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to carry out “Love the Forest and the Community” project, phase 3 (2018-2022). The renewed collaboration reflects our strong intention to support the “community forest” strategy by promoting local community’s participation in forest conservation.       This is also regarded as the prototype of synergy between government and private sectors in community forest establishment that has been continuing for about a decade.

Mr. Charesak Nantawong, Deputy Director General and Acting Director General of RFD, said Thailand lost around 69 million rai of forests by encroachment. As a result, there are only 102 million rai of forest remaining, accounting for only 31.58%. RFD continues to resolve this problem by promoting the local participation in forest management based on good governance principle which is known as ‘Participatory State’. In addition, private sector is welcomed to support the official implementation. Meanwhile, RATCH has joined hands with RFD for about 10 consecutive years to drive the forest management in form of the community forest. 

“The community forest is the concept promoting all local communities around and nearby the particular forests to participate in forest conservation and management by joining hands with RFD officers.Meanwhile, they can receive the benefit from forests based on the law and established regulations. During 2000 – December 2017, there has been 10,537 villages registering to establish the community forests, with the total areas of 5,773,927 rai. Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment aims to increase forest areas of at least 40% of Thailand’s entire forest areas or 129.41 million rai within 20 years, from the current areas of 102.17 million rai. The said goal is expected to achieve by implementing community forest strategy.” 

Mr. Kijja Sripatthangkura, RATCH CEO, said the MOU to carry out “Love the Forest and the Community” project emphasized the company’s intention to support the RFD’s community forest strategy in response to the goal to increase overall forests across the country. Moreover, the phase 3 of this project will be carried out during 2017 – 2022 based on the concept of “planting forests in people’s mind.” The remarkable performance of this project reflects our determination on environmental stewardship, along with the community and society responsibility as well as good governance in order to achieve the ultimate goal of organizational sustainability.

 “The company has continued to promote and support the “community forest” conservation for about a decade, with an aim to increase forest area - a carbon sink for minimizing the global warming impacts. The extension of phase 3 will increase the effectiveness of community forest management, in terms of the number and area of community forests as well as creating the mutual benefit on socio-economic aspects in both local and national levels. This is a model for long-term synergy between government and private sectors in community forest stewardship that resulted in concrete accomplishment.”

The MOU covers four aspects of collaboration:

  1. Organizing the community forest contest under “Love the Forest and the Community” project to commend communities for their efficient forest management to ensure sustainability and maximum benefit, and expanding the ideas and networks to other communities
  2. Building community forest and leader networks, new ecologists as well as forest protection volunteers for tighten relationship among community forest leaders and developing into networks for sharing their experiences on natural and environmental resource conservation
  3. Promoting the community forest management for sustainable development and the participation in taking care the existing forests, increasing community forest area and reforestation as well as developing community forests as learning centers for natural resources-related knowledge and impact assessment, with support on other relevant activities for sustainable coexistence of people and forests
  4. Publicizing relevant knowledge, methods on community forest management as well as the performance of the communities achieving success in forest management to increase people’s awareness on forest conservation

Performance summary of Love the Forest and the Communityproject (2008 2017)

1. Community forest contest

Participating community forests – 10,478 villages

Community forests awarded – 1,392 villages

Acreage of awarded community forests (rai) – 1.25 million rai

CO2 trapped – 2.5 million tons

2.Building community forest networ

Seminar of community leader networks

  • 18 classes
  • 1,468 people
  • for sharing and learning forest management-related experiences, development, problem solving as well as enhancing forest management knowledge

Klayim Youth Camp

  • 21 classes
  • 1,679 people
  • Focusing on enhancement of integrated knowledge for continuing forest conservation.

3. Sustainable forest management

Community forest strength enhancement

  • Building dams
  • Training courses on planting of young plants and agroforestry system
  • Training courses on forest fire prevention and control
  • Knowledge on marketing management and window display technique 
  • Developing community learning center and ecotourism destinations

Study on carbon capture and storage as well as biodiversification of community forests

  • Evaluate the abundance of community forest as well as its carbon capture and storage performance
  • Targeting 50 community forests nationwide 
  • 43 community forests that have been evaluated can capture 1.3 million tons of carbon dioxide.

Summary of the carbon dioxide capture and storage as well as biodiversification divided by types of community forest (2013-2017)

43 sampling community forests nationwide

Types of forest

Number (Forests)

CO2 trapped   (tons/rai/year)

Tropical rain forest

1

17.30

Dry evergreen forest

13

13.05

Swamp forest

2

7.96

Deciduous Dipterocarp Forest

25

5.85

Mixed Deciduous Forest

15

5.74
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