RECOFTC has played a leading role in the expansion of community forestry in Thailand for more than two decades. Through trainings and other activities, we have directly supported more than 100 communities in setting up community forest sites in 19 subdistricts. Our Thailand Country Program focuses on action research on governance, conflict, REDD+, and community forestry. We are also working to strengthen community, youth, academic, and advocacy networks to help them advance Thailand's community forest movement.
Strengthening the National Community Forestry Network, 2009–2011
RECOFTC is a key facilitator for Thailand's recently established National Community Forestry Network. Involving community forestry representatives from throughout the country and local nongovernment organizations (NGOs), the network provides a platform for knowledge exchange and for unified advocacy efforts to achieve a better community forestry policy and regulatory environment. One of its primary tasks is to set up a national community forestry database, which will serve as the clearinghouse of Thailand community forest data and information. The Rights and Resources Initiative provides funding.
Strengthening the Young Seedling Network, 2010–2011
In 2009, the Bangkok Empower Youth Festival brought together 120 young people from different provinces to present their experiences in natural resource management. The Young Seedling Network will build on this to support 20 local-level Young Seedling Networks to help them share their experiences and learn more about natural resource management. Siam Commercial Foundation provides funding.
Appropriate and Sustainable Models for REDD+ and Sustainable Forest Management in Thailand, 2009–2010
Supported by the Thailand Research Fund, this research project was implemented in five communities. It has generated lessons on tools and community forestry models for adaptation to climate change, for example, from work piloting a carbon accounting tool in three communities. Findings with implications for REDD+ and adapting to climate change have been shared in roundtable discussions with national and local NGOs, the private sector, and targeted government agencies including the Royal Forestry Department. Thailand used the findings from this project in its negotiation document for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change talks.
Awareness Raising and Advocacy
The Thailand Country Program captures and shares the lessons and tools developed through our efforts for community forestry capacity building and network strengthening. We have documented lessons on a variety of topics, including conflict management, governance, and technical aspects of community forestry. We also record case studies on community experiences. In the future, we plan to work more on the linkages between community forestry, livelihoods, and rights. Through our close relationships with Thailand's civil society, government, and local communities, we are hoping to soon establish a national multi-stakeholder working group to help push community forestry forward.
Capacity Building in Thailand
For more than 10 years, the Thailand Country Program has helped to build the skills and abilities of government leaders, community forest managers, practitioners, and the legal community in sustainable community forestry management. Working closely with the Royal Forestry Department, we provide trainings, workshops, and forums in planning for community-managed forests and participatory monitoring of ecosystems. We are also developing a new curriculum in managing conflicts over natural resources.
Recently, RECOFTC hosted the first Policy Dialogue on Forest and Land Tenure Review and Reform in Bangkok from 20 – 22 March, 2012. Attendees, including high level policymakers, academics, and representatives from civil society and community forest networks agreed on the urgent need for policy reforms to ensure fair and sustainable management of shared natural resources.
Many of RECOFTC's regional initiatives have activities in Vietnam. These include:
- ASEAN Social Forestry Network
- Conflict Learning Network
- REDD Learning Network
- REDD-Net Asia-Pacific
- Study of Forest Conflict in Asia