Saturday, April 4, 2015

MAP-Asia implements two CBEMR projects in Thailand

By Karine Payet-Lebourges, MAP-Asia Volunteer Intern from France, and Rueangborom Petcharat (Bobby) MAP-Asia GNF Project Manager

In November 2014, MAP-Asia organised and facilitated a workshop and study tour to have communities from Southern Thailand involved in two mangrove restoration projects get trained and share knowledge in CBEMR. This initiative was organised by MAP after the communities from one of the projects (GNF) new to CBEMR heard that communities from another project (EPIC) already had experience in CBEMR and expressed their desire to learn from them.

The Global Nature Fund project (GNF) project on Mangrove rehabilitation in Asia – Local Action and cross-border Transfer of Knowledge for the Conservation of Climate, Forests and Biodiversity started in January 2012. While restoring mangroves, the project will help the local communities develop new sustainable livelihood opportunities. The GNF project is being implemented in communities in 4 Asian countries, including five villages of Southern Thailand, Ban Laem Ma Kham, Ban Bang Kang Kao, Ban Tung Gor, Ban Tha Sanook and Ban Nainang. The GNF project in Thailand is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Foundation Ursula Merz and Synchronicity Earth.

The Ecosystems Protecting Infrastructure and Communities (EPIC) project is a 5-year initiative that started in November 2012. EPIC undertakes field projects in East Asia, Europe, South America and West Africa in order to investigate and demonstrate the role of healthy ecosystems in reducing disaster risk and supporting ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) to climate change. The project is sponsored by the German Government’s International Climate Initiative (ICI).

The objectives of this 3-day training workshop that gathered 25 participants from 4 villages was to provide a unique opportunity for both MAP’s mangrove restoration projects applying CBEMR to discuss mangrove restoration jointly. The newer communities – from Ban Tha Sanook (GNF) and Ban Nainang (GNF) and Ban Koh Klang (EPIC) – learnt CBEMR from MAP facilitators and the more experienced community of Ban Talay Nok that has been using CBEMR for over five years. The community of Ban Talay Nok, in Phang-Nga province, has been involved in CBEMR since 2008 as part of the “Demonstrating Ecological Mangrove Restoration at Ban Talay Nok” initiative, a collaborative project between MAP and IUCN-Thailand supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). This project aims at restoring abandoned shrimp ponds to help support supplementary livelihoods in particular those based on the sustainable use of nypa palm (Nypa fruticans). Ban Talay Nok is the 2nd site that MAP-Asia has used to demonstrate CBEMR on the ground in Thailand and thus provided unique hands-on experience.
“It was very difficult for us to get back our pond but easy for the outsider to encroach. We would like to share this experience with others as a lesson on how to protect the natural resources in their own community.” said Bang Hem, Ban Talay Nok.
MAP staff explained the objectives of the training workshop and distributed information material to all participants, in particular mangrove species field guide book of the EPIC project.

Thus, participants met in Ban Talay Nok on November 16th then at Andaman Coastal Research Station for Development, Ranong province, on November 17-18th, 2014. The CBEMR methodology was taught to them by MAP facilitators. Participants were then taken for a tour of Ban Tub Pla, a village badly affected by the 2004 tsunami. This was a case illustrating the role of mangroves as bioshields to protect communities against natural disasters and the excellent potential of mangrove restoration as an ecosystem-based approach for natural disaster risk management.
"Awareness is difficult to raise but we could not stop raising awareness even though we have to do it until we die. If a tree of awareness grows, any tree will grow.” said Ms. Sopa, Baan Talay Nok.
Bung Hem from Ban Talay Nok, the most experienced participating community in CBEMR, shared his community's experience on applying CBEMR in their village. He explained that this land was encroached by a private investor then together with MAP the community took the land back and started applying CBEMR. They planted nypa palm (Nypa fruticans) on part of the site. Today the palms have grown and the community can benefit from the products derived from them, such as weaving thatch roofing sections.

Highlights from this meeting include the following key messages:

  • Manage and clear land ownership before starting any CBEMR process in order to solve a maximum of conflicts before they arise;
  • Each community must be clear on how they will gain concrete benefits from the mangrove restoration programme;
  • The physical work in Ban Talay Nok created strong stewardship, good relationships and an opportunity for the community to work closely together and with MAP;
  • The Ban Talay Nok community members have learned from the failure of other mangrove plantation activities and applied a learning-by-doing approach with CBEMR and the importance of the restoration process being context-specific (i.e. there is no one no one-size-fits-all approach). 
The following video in Thai language was recorded during the field trip and shows CBEMR in Ban Talay Nok and Nypa palm products.

The following 10-min video from 2009 shows the implementation process of the Ban Talay Nok CBEMR demonstration project.

CBEMR experience from the GNF and EPIC sites are reported on the newly established MAP CBEMR blog.
To learn more on the GNF project see here and about EPIC here.

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