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July 2012 Summary Report – PATT Soneva Forest Restoration Project

 

Summary of Main Tasks completed in July 2012

Forest Restoration Planting

By end July 2012, planting of the Soneva PATT forest restoration plot was completed at the Royal Project Nong Hoi, Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai.  The site covers an area of 133 rai (21.45 ha).  A total of 70,304 tree seedlings comprising 78 locally native tree species sourced from the Soneva-PATT Mae Taeng Nursery, FORRU, (Forest Restoration Research Unit, Chiang Mai University), and Track of the Tiger were planted.  An additional 3,000 “Thai Sakura” (Prunus cerasoides) seedlings were obtained by local villagers and planted in an area visible from the Mon Cham hilltop restaurant which Nong Hoi villagers and the Royal Project are developing as a tourism site.  

A community planting day was held at Nong Hoi on 28 July.  Participants included senior Royal Project and Soneva Slow Life Trust representatives, PATT, FORRU and a host of local conservation groups and village organizations.  More than 700 people helped to plant over 33,000 trees in one day.

Forest Restoration Site Maintenance

Replacement planting at Doi Pha Ma was completed according to plan in early July, with 3,500 seedlings replanted.  During replanting, several small areas requiring some additional repair (total 800 trees) were identified.  This work was completed by end July.  The entire Doi Pha Ma plantation area is being weeded and fertilized.  These tasks were 80 percent complete by end July and will be finished in early August. Site acquisition and reconnaissance  On July 12, PATT received formal approval from the Director‐General of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation to reforest a 350 rai portion of a 1200 rai former opium plantation within the Pai River Watershed Wildlife Sanctuary.   

Senior PATT staff held planning meetings with Sanctuary officials on 13 July, and with the Head of the Regional Conservation Office, Forest Restoration Division on 14 July.  Arrangements were made for start of work.  Site clearance was only able to begin on 21 July following final formal registration of the project with the Office of Forest Restoration in honor of Their Majesties.  By end July, approximately 80 rai have been cleared. Agreement to develop a 5 rai forest restoration research and demonstration plot adjacent to the Tham Lod Cave Wildlife Development and Conservation Center was concluded with the Director of the Center on 22 July.  

Site clearance began on 30 July and was completed on 31 July.  The area will be planted during a community planting day to be held in honor of H.M. the Queen on 6 August. The Pang Mapha District Office (Mae Hong Son) requested PATT to undertake forest restoration on 30 rai of previously encroached and now abandoned forest land nearby the District Office.    Further discussions and feasibility study will be conducted during the first week of August. Head of the Mae Ki Pang Hai Village Council, Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, requested PATT to consider reforesting a site estimated at 120 rai on abandoned crop plantation land on the upper slope of a hill to the east of the Nong Hoi Royal Project.   

Site reconnaissance will be conducted in August during training at the Nong Hoi Royal Project site in which Mae Ki villagers will participate. Several hundred, (and potentially, more than 1,000) rai of upland cropping area are under consideration for conversion to natural forest and economic tree crops by the Brain Trust Program of H.M. Queen Sirikit’s Forests Love Water Project, the Supreme Military Command, Department of National Parks and villagers of Sansai Subdistrict, Prao District, Chiang Mai.  Discussions and planning are ongoing for an integrated forest restoration and community economic development project in  which villagers releasing crop land on steep slopes for reforestation would be assisted to develop economic tree crops on lower slopes and animal husbandry in their villages. 

 PATT has been invited to assume responsibility for the forest restoration component.  Participatory forest boundary mapping was conducted on 11 July with officials of Sri Lanna National Park, local community representatives and PATT. 

Nursery

More than 70 thousand trees sourced from PATT’s own nursery, FORRU and Track of the Tiger, were delivered to the Nong Hoi Royal Project forest restoration site for planting by end July.     2,300 seedlings were delivered to the Tham Lod Cave Wildlife Development and Conservation Center in preparation for planting on 6 August.    A substantial area of land for PATT’s forest restoration activities in Northern Thailand has been identified during the past 3 months.   

A decision has been taken to proceed with development of nursery production facilities at Mae Na Pak to ensure timely preparation of seedlings for 2013 planting.   Before construction plans were placed on hold in March when the National Parks Department informed PATT that private organizations would be excluded from participating on the Chao Phraya Basin Forest Restoration and Flood Prevention program, terrace grading of the Mae Na Pak nursery site had been completed.    In August, PATT will construct of propagation tables, shade houses, an irrigation system and storage shed.

Community Outreach

To prepare students at the Jao Mae Luang Uppathum School, Nong Hoi for community planting day, a short workshop introducing the FORRU framework species method, value of forests, and how to plant trees, was held on 6 July for 80 students grades 4 ‐ 6.  Villagers of Huay Ratchabutr joined a meeting to discuss benefits obtained from their community forest and consider regulations ensuring sustainable use.  

A follow up meeting assisted by officers of Sri Lanna National Park will enable the community to establish regulations consistent with national forestry law.     PATT assisted villagers at Pang Chaang to establish a community fund.  PATT’s community outreach officer will serve as joint account trustee and assist monthly audit.  The fund will be used for community projects and small loans supporting community entrepreneurship.

Work in progress

Site clearance at the Pai River Watershed Wildlife Sanctuary should be completed in the third week of August.  190,000 seedlings will be transported to holding areas at Pang Mapha in preparation for planting at the Wildlife Sanctuary and a demonstration forest restoration site near the Pang Mapha District Office.  

Nursery construction at Mae Na Pak will proceed during August.  Seed collection will continue as fruits of various species ripen during the rainy season and thereafter.

Next Steps

  • Quality control at Pang Mapha on site clearance, hole digging, and tree planting.
  • Training for communities at Pang Mapha on the value of forests, framework species method of forest restoration, and tree planting.
  • Liaison with government and the Royal Project regarding ongoing collaboration and provision of additional planting sites.
  • Formation of community organizations at Nong Hoi and Pang Mapha to be responsible for site maintenance and protection.
  • Training of community organizations.  Discussions with Soneva regarding ongoing support for the Soneva PATT Forest Restoration Project.

This is the summary report for the Soneva PATT Forest Restoration Project for July 2012.  The Report provides an outline of major tasks conducted during the month, progress made, and emerging issues.Forest Restoration Activities Nong Hoi Royal Project, Mae Rim, Chiang Mai

Forest restoration on 133 rai (21.45 ha) of abandoned upland crop plantation was completed at the Nong Hoi Royal Project in Mae Rim District, Chiang by end July. In total, 73,304 seedlings (including 3,000 Prunus cerasoides or “Thai Sakura” obtained by local villagers on their own), and comprising 78 tree species native to local forests were planted.  Collaboration among the Royal Project, PATT, FORRU and the local villagers was excellent. A community planting day held on 28 July was attended by 728 persons.   

The opening ceremony was officiated by the Director, Royal Project Foundation Secretariat, Head of Nong Hoi Royal Project Development Center, and Head of the Nong Hoi School District.  In addition to local dignitaries, PATT was pleased to host Mr. Arnfinn Oines and Khun Phornphan Padmasankha of Soneva Slow Life Trust, both of whom participated actively on the tree planting. On Thursday 26 July, a short training was conducted for 15 local team leaders on the proper ways to handle seedlings and plant trees.   

The training was repeated on the morning of planting day for participants representing Suthep‐Pui National Park, the Thai Military Command and Border Patrol, nearby district and subdistrict organizations, a host of Chiang Mai environmental clubs, local education institutions and villages.  More than 33,000 seedlings were planted on 28 July alone. On the days following the planting day, Nong Hoi villagers returned to the area to plant holes that had  been left inadvertently without seedlings, to plant the remaining most steeply sloping portion of the plot, to check, and correct the quality of planting if required, and to tie taller seedlings to the bamboo stakes used to mark each of the planting holes.  Logistical arrangements to ensure orderly participation by 728 people was challenging.  But the entire event went off extremely well.

Credit and thanks are due to all those who were involved! 

  
Mr. Suthat Pleumpanya (left), Director, Royal Project Foundation Secretariat, and Mr. Phubet Moonmuang, Head of the Royal Project Development Center, Nong Hoi, officiated at the opening ceremony of Community Tree Planting Day.


More than  700 people attended helping to plant over 30,000 native tree seedlings. 


Fortunately the weather held up, and a good time was had by all!

For more photos of Community Tree Planting Day at Nong Hoi Royal Project, please visit:

https://www.dropbox.com/lightbox/home/Soneva/Photograph
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/9g102mv6q5u844d/EYl4UXFNp1
(http://www.flickr.com//photos/forru‐cmu/sets/72157630788885326/show/)  

 Pai River Wildlife Sanctuary; Tham Lod Wildlife Conservation Center, Pang Mapha, Mae Hong Son  Final approval signed by the Director‐General, Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Concservation, to proceed with forest restoration at the Pai River Watershed Wildlife Sanctuary was received on 12 July.  Further official paperwork requirements were completed on 21 July.    PATT senior staff visited the Wildlife Sanctuary Office at Pang Mapha, Mae Hong Son on 14 July for preliminary work planning discussions with the Assistant Head of Sanctuary and other senior Sanctuary officials.   

Arrangements to contract labor and to begin work on site clearance were made through the Office of Forest Protection Unit, Pang Mapha.  On 15 July, further consultations were held with the Head of the Forest Restoration Unit of the Regional Forest Conservation Department.  Work on site clearance began on 21 July after receipt of final approval from the Office of Forest Restoration in honor of Their Royal Majesties, Bangkok.  By end July, around 80 rai of the approved 350 rai plot was cleared.  Additional workers will be sought in August in order to accelerate the process, with the aim of completing planting by end August. Agreement was also forged with the Tham Lod Wildlife Development and Conservation Center, Pang Mapha, to develop a 5 rai forest restoration demonstration plot near the Tham Lod Center Office.  

 Planting at Tham Lod will be conducted on 6 August.  The District Governor of Pang Mahpa requested that PATT consider assisting to develop a similar demonstration plot on approximately 30 rai of abandoned upland crop field located near the District Office.  Reconnaissance and feasibility assessment will also be conducted at the proposed Pang Mapha District demonstration site during the first week of August.

 
Narrow access to the Pai Sanctuary poses logistical challenges.  Sanctuary regulations do not permit machine excavation of the access route.  Transport alternatives for seedlings and fertilizer are being assessed.


By end July, around 80 rai of the approved 350 rai forest restoration area have been cleared. Efforts are being made to accelerate the process by employing a larger work force, with the aim of completion of planting by end August.

Site Assessment and Reconnaissance

Mae Ki Pang Hai Village, Mae Rim, Chiang Mai Mae Ki Pang Hai village is located nearby the Nong Hoi Royal Project site. The village council of Mae Ki Pang Hai Village, Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, requested PATT to consider reforesting around 120 rai of abandoned crop plantation land on the upper slope of a hill lying east of the Nong Hoi Royal Project.

In August during training at the Nong Hoi Royal Project in which Mae Ki villagers will participate, preliminary reconnaissance will be conducted, feasibility assessed, and next steps planned. Sansai Subdistrict, Prao District, Chiang Mai PATT has been requested to consider collaborating on a project to develop integrated alternative sustainable land use and livelihood systems in Prao District of Chiang Mai. Initially, several hundred rai of steeply sloped upland area currently under poorly performing agricultural crops would be converted to natural forest using the FORRU framework species method. Lower slopes would be developed as economic tree plantations (agroforestry) using rubber, oil palm, longan, lychee and mango.

Villagers would also be compensated with livestock, and receive training on managing these new components of their livelihood systems. Based on successful demonstration, the project would then expand to nearby villages with forest restoration area in excess of 1,000 rai. Participatory forest boundary mapping was conducted on 11 July with officials of Sri Lanna National Park, local community representatives and PATT. 

The project is being supported by the Brain Trust Program of H.M. Queen Sirikit’s Forests Love Water Project, the Supreme Military Command, Department of National Parks and villagers of Sansai Subdistrict. Discussions and planning are ongoing with the next meeting scheduled for 3rd week of August. Doi Pha Maa Plantation Site Management Re‐planting and Site Maintenance Re‐planting at Doi Pha Maa of 3,500 seedlings to replace those which had died due to drought, weed competition or escaped forest fire (2 rai), was completed in July.

The entire site is being weeded and fertilized, with work completion expected by early August. During weeding operations, it was decided to replant several small portions of the site which initial spot transect reconnaissance had not revealed as requiring repair. An additional approximately 800 seedlings will be replanted. Due to the poor quality of soils at Doi Pha Maa after years of manganese strip mining, to accelerate seedling growth the project opted to add 10% inorganic fertilizer (15‐15‐15) to the normal organic fertilizer regimen.


Trees are being ring weeded to 60cm (l.). The area can then be fully weeded with mechanical cutters (r.). 


Two rai where escaped forest fire destroyed more than 1,000 seedlings in April were fully replanted. An additional 2,500 seedlings were also replaced in areas scattered throughout the plantation. 

Site Assessment and Reconnaissance

Mae Ki Pang Hai Village, Mae Rim, Chiang Mai Mae Ki Pang Hai village is located nearby the Nong Hoi Royal Project site. The village council of Mae Ki Pang Hai Village, Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, requested PATT to consider reforesting around 120 rai of abandoned crop plantation land on the upper slope of a hill lying east of the Nong Hoi Royal Project.

In August during training at the Nong Hoi Royal Project in which Mae Ki villagers will participate, preliminary reconnaissance will be conducted, feasibility assessed, and next steps planned. Sansai Subdistrict, Prao District, Chiang Mai PATT has been requested to consider collaborating on a project to develop integrated alternative sustainable land use and livelihood systems in Prao District of Chiang Mai. Initially, several hundred rai of steeply sloped upland area currently under poorly performing agricultural crops would be converted to natural forest using the FORRU framework species method. Lower slopes would be developed as economic tree plantations (agroforestry) using rubber, oil palm, longan, lychee and mango.

Villagers would also be compensated with livestock, and receive training on managing these new components of their livelihood systems. Based on successful demonstration, the project would then expand to nearby villages with forest restoration area in excess of 1,000 rai. Participatory forest boundary mapping was conducted on 11 July with officials of Sri Lanna National Park, local community representatives and PATT. 

The project is being supported by the Brain Trust Program of H.M. Queen Sirikit’s Forests Love Water Project, the Supreme Military Command, Department of National Parks and villagers of Sansai Subdistrict. Discussions and planning are ongoing with the next meeting scheduled for 3rd week of August. Doi Pha Maa Plantation Site Management Re‐planting and Site Maintenance Re‐planting at Doi Pha Maa of 3,500 seedlings to replace those which had died due to drought, weed competition or escaped forest fire (2 rai), was completed in July.

The entire site is being weeded and fertilized, with work completion expected by early August. During weeding operations, it was decided to replant several small portions of the site which initial spot transect reconnaissance had not revealed as requiring repair. An additional approximately 800 seedlings will be replanted. Due to the poor quality of soils at Doi Pha Maa after years of manganese strip mining, to accelerate seedling growth the project opted to add 10% inorganic fertilizer (15‐15‐15) to the normal organic fertilizer regimen.


Trees are being ring weeded to 60cm (l.). The area can then be fully weeded with mechanical cutters (r.). 


Two rai where escaped forest fire destroyed more than 1,000 seedlings in April were fully replanted. An additional 2,500 seedlings were also replaced in areas scattered throughout the plantation. 

Tree Seedling Preparation

Overall, seedling quality has been high in quantity sufficient for all work to be undertaken by the Project during the 2012 planting season. Over 80 species have been propagated in total. Due to later than optimal planting out date, some seedlings have become tall and spindly. In some cases, tall seedlings have been pruned back; in others, seedlings were staked to bamboo poles after planting.
Some seedlings at the PATT Mae Taeng Nursery have been affected by fungus and/or leaf drop due to denser than optimal tree canopy cover in the semi-deciduous forest where the temporary nursery facility is located. These problems will be remedied when the project begins construction of its own propagation facility at Mae Na Pak, Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai, in August. 

Nearly all remaining seedlings are being shipped to holding areas at Pang Mapha, Mae Hong Son, where the remainder of the season’s planting will be undertaken. Some will be held over for sizing and planting out in 2013. 70,304 seedlings comprising 78 species were delivered to the Nong Hoi Royal Project for planting in July. (A complete species list is attached to this report as Annex 1.) 2,480 seedlings comprising 15 species1
were delivered for planting at the Tham Lod Wildlife Center for planting on August 6. (The species list of Tham Lod is attached as Annex 2.)


Mr. Arnfinn Oines and Khun Phornphan Padmasankha of Soneva Slow Life Foundation visited the Soneva PATT Mae Taeng temporary nursery site on 27 July, accompanied by Jane Bailey, PATT Foundation Country Manager for Thailand, and Andrew Mittelman, the Soneva PATT Forest Restoration Project Coordinator. 


Seedlings being loaded from the Track of the Tiger Nursery, Mae Rim (l.), and Soneva PATT Nursery, Mae
 Taeng (r.), Chiang Mai, for delivery to the Nong Hoi Royal Project forest restoration site.


Unloading seedlings at Nong Hoi Royal Project (l.), carrying seedlings to the planting holes (c.), and seedling placed in planting hole ready for planting out (r.). 

Community Outreach

PATT’s community outreach officer has taken the lead in liaising with the Brain Trust Project of H.M. the Queen, to explore potential for PATT’s collaboration on an integrated forest restoration and community economic development project being planned at Prao District, Chiang Mai. (Additional information is contained on page 5 of this report in the section ‘entitled “Site Assessment and Reconnaissance”.) In preparation for their participation on Community Tree Planting Day, PATT’s community outreach officer, in collaboration with FORRU, led a short workshop on forestry and the environment for 80 Grade 4‐6 students of the Jao Mae Luang Uppathum School, Nong Hoi. Subjects included an introduction to the FORRU framework species method, the ecological and economic value of forests, and how to plant trees.

The children enjoyed the workshop and requested that PATT provide similar study activities related to environmental management in the future. Villagers of Huay Ratchabutr joined a meeting to discuss benefits obtained from their community forest and consider regulations ensuring sustainable use. A follow up meeting assisted by officers of Sri Lanna National Park will enable the community to establish regulations consistent with national forestry law. PATT assisted villagers at Pang Chaang to establish a community fund. PATT’s community outreach officer will serve as joint account trustee and assist monthly account audits, with the aim of later handing over full responsibil;ity for fund management to the community. The fund will be used for small community projects and loans supporting local entrepreneurship.

Lessons learned and follow‐up

Achieving high per unit area species diversity in the forest restoration plots A better job is required to ensure adequate mixture of species in the forest restoration plots. Anticipating this requirement, instructions were provided to responsible staff on how to achieve diverse planting arrangements in the Nong Hoi forest restoration area. But insufficient oversight of local labor led to some baskets used to carry seedlings to the planting area being loaded with only 1‐3 species. Precautions will be taken at Pang Mapha to ensure that the forests being planted have high per unit area species diversity. 

Species will be mixed 4 separate times; first upon initial loading for delivery from the nursery to staging areas near the plantation site , second, on unloading to these storage areas, third, upon re‐loading for delivery to the planting site, and finally, when loading baskets for transport of seedlings to the planting holes.

Transport of planting materials into Pai River Watershed Wildlife Sanctuary

Due to Wildlife Sanctuary regulations prohibiting operation of land moving equipment in Sanctuary core zones, the current 2.2 km walking trail access to the planting site at the Pai River Sanctuary will present an impediment to efficient transport of seedlings and fertilizer into the site. PATT continues to explore options with senior Sanctuary and National Parks Department officials. It may be possible to move a small tractor and trailer into the site, after hand excavation to widen the existing trail.

Key activities in August 2012

During August, the Project will be engaged in the following key activities:

Site clearance at the Pai River Watershed Wildlife Sanctuary should be completed in the third week of August.190,000 seedlings will be transported to holding areas at Pang Mapha in preparation for planting at the Wildlife Sanctuary and a demonstration forest restoration site near the Pang Mapha District Office.

Planting at the Pai River Wildlife Sanctuary should be near complete by end August. (This will depend upon ability to double the size of the current work force. Efforts to do so are currently underway.)Nursery construction at Mae Na Pak will proceed during August.Seed collection will continue as fruits of various species ripen during the rainy season and thereafter.

Next Steps

  • Quality control at Pang Mapha on site clearance, hole digging, and tree planting.
  • Training for communities at Pang Mapha on the value of forests, framework species method of forest restoration, and tree planting.
  • Liaison with government and the Royal Project regarding ongoing collaboration and provision of additional planting sites.
  • Formation of community organizations at Nong Hoi and Pang Mapha to be responsible for site maintenance and protection.
  • Training of community organizations.
  • Discussions with Soneva regarding ongoing support for the Soneva PATT Forest Restoration Project.

Annex 1. Species Planted at Nong Hoi Royal Project Development Center, Mae Rim, Chiang Mai


Annex 2. Species delivered for planting at the Tham Lod Wildlife Development Center