Thursday, September 25, 2014

MAP-Asia Hosts China Mangrove Conservation Network Field Study Tour to Thailand

Mangrove Tour at Leeled CBT

By: Ms Piyapat Nakornchai, GNF Project Manager, Mangrove Action Project

Seven staff from China Mangrove Conservation Network (CMCN) and one representative from Shenzhen Spring Environmental Protection Volunteer Association (SENGO) visited Thailand 16th-25th August 2014 for a field study trip to learn about mangrove and coastal conservation efforts in Thailand. During this 10 days trip, the team, led by the founding director – Dr. Liu Yi, visited numbers of places in Thailand, including MAP-Asia Office and EMR sites in Trang Province, Leeled Community-based Tourism in Surat Thani Province, Kao Sam Roi Yod National Park in Prachuab Khirikan Province, the Sirindhorn International Environmental Park (SIEP) in Petchaburi Province, Amphawa District in Samut Songkram Province, IUCN Asia Regional Office (IUCN ARO) and UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (UNEP/ROAP) in Bangkok, as well as Sea Turtle Conservation Center Royal Thai Navy in Chonburi Province.

The members visited MAP – Asia office in Trang in the morning of 17th August to exchange their experiences about mangrove with MAP – Asia team, and to understand about the different aspects of MAP’s work, as well as threats to mangrove in Thailand. The CMCN group was welcomed by the MAP Asia Coordinator, Jim Enright who led the group in a lively and interesting exchange. In the afternoon, MAP staff Ms Piyapat Nakornchai, Global Nature Fund (GNF) Project Manager, took the group to Sikao District to explore a mangrove nursery and the 3 Community-based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR) sites in the area.  The CBEMR project is under the support of the Global Nature Fund, Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Foundation Ursula Merz and Synchronicity Earth.  The team had great fun identifying various species of mangrove found in the area with many new ones present.

MAP-Asia coordinator, Jim Enright, with the CMCN group
The next day, on 18th August, the group travelled to Surat Thani Province to spend a night at the Leeled homestay. This Leeled Community-based Tourism (CBT) team had been involved in conservation for a long time, and integrated tourism to promote their conservation activities. After a mangrove boat ride, Thai cooking experience and an authentic firefly boat tour, the CMCN had a chance to ask various questions regarding CBT management from the operating team. They also visited a shrimp paste group and walked along the mangrove boardwalk nearby the next day. Later, the group headed to and arrived at Kao Sam Roi Yot National Park (KSRY NP) in Prachuab Khirikan Province in the evening.

On 19th August, the team went on two boats to observe a fishing community near the national park, and landed on a bay to continue their hike to the famous attraction, Phraya Nakorn Cave. In the afternoon, they cruised along Klong Kao Daeng, (klong means canal) accompanied by an entertaining local guide. Hua Hin was the destination of the day.

Klong Khao Daeng Boat Tour
The following day, the CMCN members received an honor from Dr. Sonjai Havanond, the Deputy Director of SIEP, and Khun Areeporn Sittiyanpaiboon, the Head of Research and Development Group of SIEP, who welcomed the team and provided the information about SIEP’s mangrove conservation efforts, inspired by the Royal members. The CMCN group watched a video about SIEP and Royal Initiatives, walked the mangrove educational trail, and went through several environment- and energy-related exhibitions in the main SIEP building. After SIEP, the group headed to Amphawa District in order to experience another firefly tour, and spent a night there.

On 22nd August the CMCN group travelled to Bangkok to visit the IUCN Asia Regional Office (IUCN ARO), as well as UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (UNEP/ROAP). At the IUCN ARO, the group was welcomed by Dr. Scott Perkin – Head of Natural Resources Group, IUCN Asia and Dr. Robert Mather - Head, Southeast Asia Group, IUCN Asia. Then, they had a chance to learn about Mangrove for the Future (MFF) works from Mr. Raquib Amin – Project Manager of MFF Programme, and later Dr. Chamniern Vorratnchaiphan – Country Representative IUCN Thailand shared the stories of the works in Thailand. Afterward, Dr. Liu Yi shared the mangrove conservation work of CMCN to the IUCN Asia team. During this presentation by Dr. Yi, Ms. Aban Marker Kabraji – IUCN Asia Regional Director joined the IUCN team and showed interest in collaborating with the CMCN. This visit was made possible thanks to the coordination of Dr. Saroj Srisai – Programme Coordinator, Natural Resources Group, Asia.

Mangrove Restoration at SIEP
In the afternoon of the same day, the CMCN staff went to the UNEP/ROAP office to gain some knowledge about the UNEP’s works. They also shared their mangrove conservation work in China with the members from UNEP team, which include Mr. Jerker Tamelander – the Head of UNEP Coral Reef Unit, Ms. Angela Lentisco – Ecosystem Management Team, and Mr. Jinhua Zhang – Programme Officer, Science Policy Interface.

The next day, the group departed Bangkok in the morning for Sattahip near Pattaya, where the Sea Turtle Conservation Center Royal Thai Navy locates. They learned about the sea turtle situation in Thailand, and expressed that products made from parts of sea turtles and other wild animals should not be bought by tourists. The following day, some of the crew enjoyed temples in Bangkok, whereas others went to other attractions.

As an organizer of the trip, MAP hopes the team have gained valuable experiences and had a great time in Thailand. We also support the energetic team to keep up their great mangrove conservation work in China.

The following letter was received from CMCN:

Note: MAP has been networking and sharing information with CMCN for over 10 years now and in 2013, Jim Enright of MAP-Asia Coordinator was invited as a guest speaker to a mangrove workshop organized by CMCN in Xiamen, Fujian.  In 2012, Martin Keeley, MAP’s Education Director, introduced MAP's Marvelous Mangrove education curriculum to schools in Xiamen through CMCN facilitation coordination.

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