Community-based watershed monitoring and management in northern Thailand (2006)

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Conditions in Mae Chaem are indicative of many problems and challenges facing upper tributary watersheds in northern Thailand. Recent changes in land use include the growth of commercial agriculture associated with opium crop substitution and decreased rotational shifting cultivation. Changing land use has led to increased tensions, as downstream populations blame practices in the mountains for floods, droughts, sedimentation, and a perceived decline in water quality. To help address these issues, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) is working with local sub-watershed management networks to develop ways to increase communication, trust, transparency, and accountaility among communities and government units.One focus of this work is on the use of simple, locally managed science-based methods for monitoring watershed services. Upper tributary landscapes are composed of fairly complex mosaic patterns of various cultivated and non-cultivated land use practices. The net impacts of these various configurations on watershed services are subject to considerable speculation and much debate, the vast majority of which is based far more on theory, emotional impressions, and/or vested interests than on empirical evidence. Thus, the project has sought to test a set of simple science-based tools employed by members of local villages in the context of their sub-
watershed management network, in order to produce information useful for:
  1. Feedback on the impacts of local land use management on watershed services;
  2. Helping manage watershed service-related tensions and conflicts among local communiities; and
  3. Facilitating comunication and negotiations between local upland communities and downstream communities and the broader society regarding the impacts of land use in upper tributary watersheds.
Year: 2006
Language: English
In: Mountain Research and Development, Vol 26, No 3, August 2006: 289-291:,



 Record created 2011-12-21, last modified 2013-01-17