Water Resources Thailand Environment Institute has collaborated repeatedly with the private sector and with communities to return moisture to natural settings—by building check dams and small water sources, reducing contamination of wastes and pollution from communities and industries, reducing shortages of water in some areas, and using water efficiently—in order to drive self-recovery of the forest ecosystem and to provide clean water sources. TEI also aims to build participation in conserving limited water resources through targeted education and publicity campaigns.
Thailand Environment Institute has supported sustainable forest management (terrestrial forest) through community participation since 1995, which has included buffer zone management, alternative occupation development focused on reducing resource use, and the use of collaborative processes to formulate a community framework of rules in using and conserving forests. TEI has supported many operation areas in the northern, central, north- eastern and western parts of the country and established the Thai Forest Watch Network in 1999 to be a forum for sharing the community forest management knowledge.
After the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami struck Thailand, Thailand Environment Institute drew on experiences cooperating with communities on the management of terrestrial forest to support the restoration and management of mangrove forest areas with coastal communities that encountered tsunami in Pang Nga and Ranong Provinces. Through the communities’ participation process they were able to rehabilitate and substantially increase mangrove forest areas, as well as to support and improve the capability of the communities to learn and use group processes to draw up a sustainable mangrove forest management plan based on local intellect, data, and resource field surveys and to successfully implement against that plan.
In addition, TEI has coordinated in supporting supplement occupation and evolving fund development so that community areas can become learning centers for mangrove forest management. Fieldwork in mangrove forests enables TEI to produce analytic and synthetic research of local knowledge for managing and utilizing mangrove forest resources and share valuable local knowledge broadly. In 2009-2010, TEI compiled knowledge gained from its experience working in communities on disaster risk reduction and coastal community preservation to develop a database with information for community security and operations that can be used by other communities in Thailand.
At present, Thailand Environment Institute has updated the outputs from the mangrove forest rehabilitation projects to include the development of other forest resources in both terrestrial and beach forest covering areas and ecosystems. This provides a way for the community to connect different environmental management efforts across different ecosystems that are connected in different ways. TEI has sought to include both ecological and sociological dimensions of the data and management knowledge in this database.
TEI is not the only organization in Thailand or in specific communities working on these issues, but TEI has developed a unique approach that includes coordination and collaboration with local communities, the public and private sectors, and academics to better manage, appreciate and conserve valuable natural resources to protect and sustain the quality of life for people across the country.