Friday, March 30, 2018

MAP and Villagers Explore "Forest Landscape Restoration" at The 2nd People and Forests Fair

Written by Udomsak Pariwatpan

Nine villagers from MAP’s conservation network attending the Forest Landscape Restoration fair.

Earlier this month, MAP had the pleasure of accompanying our mangrove conservation network to attend the 2nd People and Forests Fair at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre. There were 19 non-governmental organizations, community groups and government organizations participating in this event organized by The Center For People and Forests, RECOFTC. This was a large event, with a diverse array of over 500 people, comprised of local villagers and tourists, as well as Bangkok residents and government officials. Our group consisted of nine people from four villages that MAP works with in the field, including Bang Kang Khao village, Trang province, Thung Yor and Nai Nang village, Krabi province and Tha Sanook village, Phang Nga province. This event was organized to provide a learning exchange between different groups, and to link a variety of communities from upstream to the sea through the Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) network. All nine villagers were excited and hoped to bring their experiences and knowledge from this event back home to apply to their community. 
Learning about the importance of Forest Landscape Restoration.
MAP’s exhibition of our Community-Based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR).

The event was divided into three parts including exhibitions, seminar forums and product sales from the conservation network. MAP worked with three livelihood groups to introduce products including shrimp paste, bar soap, shampoo and hair conditioner from Tha Sanook village, chili paste from Bang Kang Khao village and honey from Nai Nang village. 10% of these sales will be contributed towards conservation projects in each village, including for example environmental education activities with local school children or collecting mangrove seedlings to carry-out restoration activities. Many people, both Thai and foreign, were interested in this event, and supported local communities by purchasing many products.
A seminar forum discussion about people and forests from around Thailand.

Products being sold by MAP’s conservation network. 
 After the FLR event, our villagers had a conversation about the positive outcomes from this event for both themselves and their own communities. Some examples included:

  - Exchanging experiences and knowledge on environmental conservation with networks from different areas
  - Seeing the coherence of conservation networks from upstream to downstream areas
  - Expanding visions for conservation and restoration
  - Selling products from their communities. This allowed them to promote publicity, make money and bring in a funding source for broadening environmental conservation within each community.

Everyone agreed that the knowledge and experience gained from this event was substantial. It can be used as a guideline and applied to benefit their own communities through sharing and expanding knowledge, expanding their conservation networks, and selling conservation-focused products. MAP hopes to have the opportunity to participate in another event again in the future and to continue broadening the reach of our conservation network.

VIDEO: Please be sure to watch MAP's 4-minute video to see community members sharing their own personal experiences at the Forest Landscape Restoration event, here