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Khao Rao Thien Thong Community Forest
30 September 2007




Background

Khao Rao Thian Thong community was established in 1963 by a group of migrants from Suphanburi and Chainat provinces. In the beginning, the community was established by approximately 10 households and called Ban Khao Krajiaw as Krajiaw is the name of plant that is found widely in the mountain. The formal village was established in 1966, as village no.10, Noen Kham sub-district, Noen Kham branch district, Chainat province. Due to an increase of population, the village was separated into Village no.13 or Ban Nong Kaen Makluea in 1983 and Villege no.15 or Ban Nong Manao in 1989.

When the community was initially established, the forest and natural resources were abundant and plentiful. However, loss of land required for housing and agriculture including firewood and charcoal production for sale caused exploitation of the forest and natural resources by the community and their neighbors. As a result of forest degradation and severs forest fires, the community formed a group to protect and restore and natural resources in 1996. Since the conservation group started, learning processes and coordination for natural resource protection have grown to become the Khao Rao Thian Thong forest management network.


Topography and conditions

Ban Khao Rao Thian Thong is located in Mu 10, Noen Kham sub-district, Noen Kham branch district, Chainat province, 60 km south-west of Mueang district. It borders:
to the north, Mu 13, Ban Nong Kaen Makluea, Noen Kham sub-district, Noen Kham branch district, Chainat;
to the south, Mu 15, Ban Nong Manao and Mu 12 Ban Pong Mang, Noen Kham sub-district, Noen Kham branch district, Chainat;
to the east, Mu 12, Ban Pong Mang, Noen Kham sub-district, Noen Kham branch district, Chainat; and
to the west, Ban Phu, Suk Duean Ha sub-district, Noen Kham branch district, Chainat.

The topography of Khao Rao Thian Thong is characterized by plains and hillocks with altitudes of 89-319 meters above mean sea level, The area is 50% agriculture land, 10% household plots and 40% community forest, The community forest covers 4 mountains, The largest , called Khao Rao mountain is located to the north to the village and covers 4 sub-district of Noen Kham and Hankha districts,The other 3 hills, Khao Ang ,Khao Mo Ta Kruea and Khao Mo Yai Ka, are located to the north-east of the village. The 2 major soil types comprise loose sandy soils and loose clay soils. The climate is tropical monsoon comprising 3 seasons: rainy, dry summer, and winter.

The community forest which in managed by collaboration among 3 villages cover 993 rai located in the khao Rao Thian Thong reserved forest. The forest is predominatly mixed deciduous with bamboo as a dominant. Due to the dominant species, the forest is called 'pa ruak' (Thyrsostachys siamensis Gamble, a bamboo species) while forest dominated by other tree species such as Pterocarpus marcocapus, Bauhima purpurea linn. Sharea obtuse, and ingrin is called ‘pa mai jing’ (real forest) .

Total population of Khaorao Thian Thong is 308 persons or 133 households with 159 males and 149 females. The population is mostly Buddhist. Major agricultural crops are cassava, corn and sugar cane, with paddy field and orchards highly dependent on the annual rainfall. Landless farmer work for daily wages and sell non-timber forest products for added income. Some villagers work for daily wages within the community and outside, in Chainat province and Bangkok.

The community practices central Thai traditions such as the Maha Songkran, and beginning and end of Buddhist Lent ceremonies. Nowadays, local organizations comprise a housewives’ group, a bamboo shoot and mushroom processing group. a cooperative, and a savings group. The community formed a financial institute in 2005 supported by the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC).


Forest Management

Due to forest degradation, the village commenced a three-person effort to manage the forest in 1996. Eventually, the members of the forest management group expanded to 27 people in consultation with the Rural Reconstruction Foundation. The main activities of the village forest management groups included; fire protection and suppression, enrichment planting, and setting the village regulation to harvest bamboo shoots and protect the forest.



Community and natural resources

Located close to the community, Khao Rao Thian Thong community forest served as a source of food and income for surrounding 14 villages and nearby districts. Forest degradation raised local awareness of the dependence of the poor on forest resources. The community initiated activities to protect forest resources such as forest fire fighting and awareness raising throughout the whole community.

Outside irrigation zones, community livelihoods were highly dependent on forest products, which are harvested for household consumption and for income from sales. These comprise bamboo shoots, 5 types of mushroom, and wild honey. The products are sold both fresh and processed.

Local people depend greatly on the forest because they cannot make a living from their agricultural products alone and their farming land are outside irrigation zones. Bamboo, mushrooms , and wild honey are the main resources collected by local people both for their own consumption and for extra income. Besides selling fresh produce, they also process for year-round consumption and sale.


Forest Management progress

- 1963 Community established from 10 migrant households
- 1966 Community officially established with severe deforestation due to. exploitation for firewood and charcoal by villagers and surrounding communities and regular forest fires.
- 1996 Three villagers initiate forest fire fighting near their house.
- 1997 Housewives' group formed in a Chainat Community Network and Friends concerned with livelihood development.
- 1998 After consultation on forest management , value added and processing from Dr. Pratheep Verapattananirund of the Thai Rural Reconstruction foundation , the community started CF management activities such as establishing a committee, forest fire lines and forest fire fighting, plantations, forest patrols, and harvesting control for bamboo shoots by opening and closing a harvest season.
- 1999 Community won award for excellent community forest and food bank by the Royal Forest Department.
- Neighboring communities started to join forest fire fighting and follow regulation on bamboo harvesting.
- 2000 KRT Community Forest Restoration Network established and funded by the Social Investment Fund.
- 2002 Official KRT CF Network established at a formal meeting of 10 village representatives.
- 2003 Data collecting for CF management plan development supported by ThCCSP/RECOFTC
– Networking development activities, such as seminars, exchanges, and rotating meetings.
- 2004 'Pha Pa' organized as network fund raising activity
– UNDP funded for networking in 14 villages surrounding KRT CF (in 4 sub- districts and 2 districts), and the management of 22,969 rai of KRT.

A study on the economic value CF products indicated that approximately 50% of local people at KRT village harvest mushrooms and nearly 100% collected bamboo shoots for their own consumption; 52% sold the products for additional income. A study in 2004 reported the bamboo shoot harvest at 13,908 kilograms with an estimated economic value of 111,264 bath (at an average price of 8 baht per kilogram); approximately 3,000-5,000 kilograms of mushrooms were harvested with an estimated economic value of around 600,000-1,000,000 baht per year (at an average price of 200 baht per kilogram).


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Thank source:
Thailand Collaborative Country Support Program
The Regional Community Forestry Training Center for Asia and the Pacific (RECOFTC)


 Forest management