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Public participation in forest management in Thailand : a case study of Sanepong Village, Kanchanaburi Province


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Srisarin, R 1995 , 'Public participation in forest management in Thailand : a case study of Sanepong Village, Kanchanaburi Province', Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis investigates some aspects of public participation by villagers in Sanepong village, Thailand, in forest management. As a tribal community living in the forests for more than 200 years, this group of Karen people have developed their traditions and culture, along with a subsistence economy, in the surrounding forests. The thesis shows how the community has developed distinctive ways of participation in forest management.
The Thai Government, especially since the 1991 declaration of the Thung Yai - Hauy Khakaeng World Heritage Area that covers forests traditionally used by Sanepong villagers, has attempted to move the community out. On the other hand, during recent years there have been countervailing forces resulting in efforts by the Government, and others such as non-government organisations, environmentalists, and academics to improve national forestry management, resulting in a trend to decentralise forest resource management to the local level as well as to revive community rights. Community forestry has become an alternative to involve people in forest management. While communities reafforest, maintain, and protect the forests, on the one hand, they can benefit from them through forest products and services, on the other.
The thesis case study of Sanepong shows the hierarchical village social structures which relate to public participation. The communal sense of commitment and individual villager commitment sustain villager involvement in forest management and conservation. They employ adaptive mechanisms to improve their forest management, and hope to gain recognition from the government sector for the legitimacy of their management role and for their rights of continued occupation of the forests.
Sanepong is in the western sector of the World Heritage Area, in the Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary. The management of this World Heritage Area has to recognise the importance of community forestry roles. The thesis results suggest that, to achieve effective public participation in forest management in such a traditional society, community forestry projects have to recognise the importance of traditions, culture, social structures, and their relationships with respect to the forests and forest management. Participation has to be accommodated in all processes in management activities, with reference to local initiatives, planning, decision-making, implementation, and evaluation. The understanding of the forest ecosystem by the local villagers, as part of the ecosystem themselves, if given expression through this participatory management, can work in favour of achieving a better quality of life for the local villagers and may be the best way of conserving biodiversity and environmental integrity in the long run.

Item Type: Thesis - Coursework Master
Authors/Creators:Srisarin, R
Keywords: Forest management, Forests and forestry
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Copyright 1994 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (MEnvSt)--University of Tasmania, 1995. Includes bibliographical references (p. 93-100)

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