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The Royal Forest Department, in collaboration with 60 Community Forests Undertake Plant Genetic Conservation under the Royal Initiation of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn

Mr. Pongdith Potchana, Chief Executive Officer, Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding PLC, said, “The "60 Community Forests Undertake Plant Genetic Conservation under the Royal Initiation of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sinrindhorn" program has been established to honor Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sinrindhorn and mark Her Royal Highness’ 60th birthday anniversary on April 2, 2015. Activities will include the implementation of Her Royal Highness' ideas on plant genetic conservation in the community forest areas and community participation in preparing the database on a variety of plants growing in their own forests. This will create a learning process for community forest members to acquire more knowledge about species diversity in local plants, as well as realize the value and benefits of them, in order to protect their local plants and local wisdom as resources of their communities and Thailand as a whole. The initiative will also extend the concept about local plant genetic conservation to other communities nationwide, ensuring sustainable forest conservation and preservation that is in line with our corporate policy on the conservation and protection of natural resources and the environment."

"The program will run for three years in 60 community forests nationwide under a 3-framework, 8-activity platform. The 1st framework - learning about natural resources consists of three activities including plant genetic protection, plant genetic surveying and collection and plant genetic preservation. The 2nd framework - utilization includes plant genetic conservation and utilization, plant genetic data center creation and plant development planning activations. The 3rd framework - awareness enhancement includes an initiative to enhance awareness about plant genetic conservation and an exclusive activation for plant genetic conservation. This will boost participatory processes among communities, collect knowledge and local wisdom on plant genetics, protect rare and endangered plants and promote the cooperative efforts to ensure the sustainability of valuable national natural resources," added Pongdith.

The 113 representatives of 60 community forests nationwide visited the Local Resource Conservation and Development Center, Khanong Phra Sub-district, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, which serves as the model for this initiative. They attended a special lecture at the Center and acquired knowledge about the establishment and management of this model center. In the past, the forests in such areas were degraded by human encroachment and the dumping of waste. The Khanong Phra Sub-district Administration Organization worked with the local intellectuals, Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University, the Fine Arts Department and local residents to organize a public meeting to determine a forest restoration and maintenance approach and conserve the Tung Rok Fah public forest area of 527 rai and 327 square wah in the Khanong Phra sub-district. The Khanong Phra Sub-district Administration Organization joined the Plant Genetic Conservation Project under the Royal Initiation of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sinrindhorn on November  12, 2009 and established the "Khanong Phra Local Resource Conservation and Development Center” as a resource base that promotes self-sufficiency in support of the sufficiency economy principle and boosts public awareness among the local people by encouraging them to be generous and gentle with nature, protect resources in a sustainable manner and become a model for other external parties to follow.

Among those who joined the study visit program, Mr. Boonlert Pansanit, President of the Baan Aow Ei Yor Community Forest, Nakhon Si Thammarat, said, "By attending the observation visit at the Khanong Phra Sub-district Administration Organization, we realized that the support from related state agencies would drive the community forest development to move more rapidly. The Khanong Phra forests are overseen by the Khanong Phra Sub-district Administration Organization. But our Aow Ei Yor Community Forest has not received this type of support. We have handled it individually. This marked a great opportunity for us to apply the Khanong Phra Sub-district Administration Organization concepts & ideas to our community forest. The responsible officials from our sub-district administration organization also attended this exciting study trip and have learned about the operating procedures from the Khanong Phra model." 

"Moreover, I was inspired by this trip to build our own learning center for plant genetic conservation at our Baan Aor Ei Yor Community Forest. I plan to grow and conserve endangered plants and traditional herbs from the southern area for further reference by future generation members of our community.  I have also come up with an idea to create a boy scout camp for young people in our community and nearby areas to get closer to the forests and learn more about the great benefits that forests provide to humans," stated Boonlert.

Mr. Pin Hongyisipsi, a member of the Baan Wang Kong, Prae Community Forest Committee talked about his visit to the Khanong Phra initiative by stating, "I very much appreciated this trip. I will transfer the knowledge acquired about these activities to the people in my community. I would like them to gain this knowledge about forests and forest management to expand their competency in forest protection and plant genetic conservation within the community. The information I have acquired from this activity will also be shared with the nearby sub-districts that are close to our Wang Hong area so that they will help oversee the forest management and help drive the overall prosperity of the forests in Prae."

The educational trip to "the Local Resource Conservation and Development Center, Khanong Phra Sub-district" marked a major motivational driver for the 60 target community forests nationwide to be allies and serve as models that will extend the local plant genetic conservation concept to other communities in the future. This will help maintain Thailand's resource base and further protect local plants as the country resources.


For further information, please contact:
Wiwan Phayakvichien
Tel: 0 2794 9941
E-mail: wiwanp@ratch.co.th

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