From 26 to 27 January 2015, the 3rd annual workshop of the project: “Sustainable Forest Rehabilitation and Management for the Conservation of Trans-boundary Ecological Security in Montane Mainland Southeast Asia – Pilot Demonstration Project of Lao PDR, Myanmar and China/Yunnan (SFR-MMSEA)” was successfully convened in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR.
Workshop participants consisted of members of the Project Steering Committee (PSC), Project Advisory Group (PAG), partner organizations and international experts. The main purpose of the workshop was to review project progress in 2014 and discuss planning for 2015.
Participants of the in-door discussions at the workshop
It was agreed that generally, project activities are contributing well to expected outputs. A list of achievements to-date includes:
Testing locally adapted forest rehabilitation models according to rehabilitation plans developed in 2013;
Further developing databases of locally preferred, rare and endangered tree species;
Identifying and adapting practical techniques to improve soil and water conditions of degraded land;
Arranging social fencing on demonstration plots for natural regeneration; and
Distributing low energy consumption appliances such as fuelwood efficient stoves to community sites in Myanmar and Lao PDR.
One of the major challenges discussed by the PSC is the ongoing lack of incentive for forest conservation at the community level. Due to increased urban migration, relocation, risk of theft and lack of social fencing, local communities relocated to forest plains have abandoned traditional forestry methods to convert natural forests into cash crops (such as rubber, tea and tobacco). In order to achieve poverty eradication and sustainable livelihood through forest rehabilitation, the PSC agreed to enhance community participatory monitoring by setting up a mechanism for social fencing to prevent illegal forest exploitation.
Further, the PAG identified a major goal for the final year of the project to be the completion and dissemination of the project synthesis report. It was agreed that the report should assess the present state of forests at project sites, review existing forest rehabilitation practices, describe the participatory planning process as well as discuss the effectiveness and impacts of demonstration activities. The method of sharing experiences and lessons learned from Lao PDR, India and Thailand was also discussed. An outreach workshop is planned in Yunnan from 18 to 19 November 2015 to exchange and disseminate project results.
The workshop was concluded with a field trip to a project site in Xiengngeun District, Luang Prabang Province, to visit sites where various rehabilitation models are being applied on degraded fallow land as well as sites practicing teak plantation management .
Field trip to the project site in Lao PDR
This project is co-financed by the APFNet and is led by the United Nations University in partnership with the Yunnan Academy of Forestry, Department of Agricultural Land Management in Lao PDR and the Forest Research Institute in Myanmar.