upper Mae Sa Valley is within the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park just
outside Chiang Mai and here, a 23 hectare plot of deforested land
has been the subject of a reforestation project.
It is heartening
to hear of such a scheme, anyone who has travelled around the northern
provinces will see that there are vast amounts of land that would
benefit from reforestation in order to regenerate the soils and
to prevent excess runoff from flooding the valleys below. Many such
reforestation schemes in Thailand are, however, poorly conceived
and plant monocultures and/or plant trees in areas where they would
not naturally occur: these projects do little to enhance the wildlife
value of the land or, indeed, actively damage the existing ecosystems.
However, no one could accuse the Mae Sa project of doing this under
the leadership of Steven Elliot and the Forest
Restoration Research Unit of Chiang Mai University (Forru-CMU).
The Forest Restoration
Research Unit of Chiang Mai University has studied the ecology of
trees in the surrounding forests since 1997 in order to successfully
re-establish forest of high biodiversity. Local pioneer tree species
that grow quickly and are fire resistant are selected in order to
establish a canopy which creates shade and attracts seed dispersing
wildlife. Shade tolerant climax species are grown underneath the
pioneer species and eventually outgrow them causing the pioneer
species to gradually die off and create vital dead wood for wildlife
and return nutrients to the soil.
in this fashion has attracted at least 87 species of forest birds
as well as barking deer, civets, pangolin, fruit bats, wild pigs
and ferret-badgers all of which help disperse seeds and bring in
the seeds of other species.
21.5 hectares of forest has been recreated by this project, the
aim is to cover 800 hectares, and so far 200 families in the area
have joined the project.
good news about conservation in Thailand!
Comment on this
project here: Reforestation
of Mae Sa Valley