Lao officials learn from Thailand's experience on how CF can improve livelihoods of local people

Thirteen participants from Department of Forestry in national and sub-national level, Lao, including Mr. Bounpone Sengthong, Deputy Director General of Department of Forestry, attended a study tour program on ‘Village Forestry Working Group Planning’ and 'Community Forestry Development and Livelihood in Thailand', organized by RECOFTC — The Center for People and Forests from 17 – 20 October 2016.

This program is made possible by the ASEAN-Swiss Partnership on Social Forestry and Climate Change (ASFCC) in support of the Village Forestry Working Group (VFWG) in Lao to learn about the current situation of community forestry and natural resource management in Thailand and how community forestry can promote livelihood development for local people. Participants will be able to apply what they learned and adjust it to their own context.

During their visit to Kanchanaburi, Thailand from 18 - 20 October 2016, participants had an opportunity to learn from the village of Baan Huay Sapan Samakkee and learn about the success of community forestry where the community realized the importance of forest preservation for livelihood development. The participants also observed how forests products can be used as reliable sources of income for forest-dependent communities. By providing adequate knowledge in product development, market and other necessary infrastructure, the community can gain fair benefits from utilization of forest resources while also playing an essential role in preserving them.

When visiting Baan Lhoom Shoom community in Kanchanaburi Province, participants had the opportunity to observe a bamboo agroforestry site and non-timber forest product (NTFP) development, where bamboo residue is processed into plywood. Biodiversity-Based Economy Development Office (BEDO-Public Organization) provided funds and technical support to the community, decreasing the burden of forest-dependence by adding value to bamboo residue leftover from household handicrafts into a new products.

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