DMCR joins with Dow and six partners to broaden the mangrove conservation network, engaging young people with a stimulating curriculum and a smartphone application
28 January 2022 - Dow Thailand Group, in collaboration with the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and Pak Nam Prasae Sub-district Municipality, announced a partnership with four leading environmental organizations: the Foundation for Environmental Education for Sustainable Development (Thailand) or FEED; the Green World Foundation; the Regional Community Forestry Training Center for Asia and the Pacific (RECOFTC); and Second Life. The cooperation aims to advance the Dow & Thailand Mangrove Alliance to become a model for inclusive mangrove conservation and encourage young generations to learn about mangrove forests. The iNaturalist application will also be introduced, targeting engagement across all sectors to sustainably reduce global warming and marine debris.
Mangrove forests contribute to the reduction of global warming, acting as traps and filters for marine litter. The Dow & Thailand Mangrove Alliance builds upon Dow’s thirteen years of ongoing mangrove forestation projects in Thailand, and a pilot project was conducted in Pak Nam Prasae sub-district in 2020. This year, with four new partners—bringing the alliance members to a total of eight—the project’s implementation will be taken to the next level with enhanced efficiency and rigor.
This year’s key activities include driving a carbon credit mechanism for mangroves, building a body of knowledge on the biodiversity of Thailand’s mangrove forests, promoting comprehensive eco-tourism blue carbon destinations, creating a model for waste management in coastal communities, and providing opportunities for young people and the public to explore mangrove wildlife through the iNaturalist application. Developed by National Geographic, the application will provide knowledge and a database on biodiversity; offering young people and tourists a chance to explore the natural classrooms and raising awareness of forest restoration and conservation. This will support a collective effort in reducing the impact of climate change and marine debris, which is in line with the five-year (2020-2024) roadmap to elevate conservation of mangrove forest resources along the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman’s coastlines to an international level.
Mr. Sopon Thongdee, Director-General of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, said, “Marine, coastal, and mangrove conservation is not a responsibility of just one agency, but a duty of every sector to create a cooperative network to restore the resources and address relevant problems to ensure the success and sustainability of mangrove conservation. The collaboration marks a significant step in Thailand’s effort to develop an inclusive mangrove forest management system, engaging both public and private sectors and the surrounding communities. The partnership will help the country achieve its zero-emission target by 2050 and net-zero GHG emission target by 2065.”
Mr. Chatchai Luanpolcharoenchai, President of Dow Thailand, said, "Dow is delighted that four top organizations are working with us to elevate the project to new levels. Each organization will bring a range of expertise that will contribute to the mangrove conservation effort—ensuring benefits for the environment, the economy, and society—as mangroves have high carbon storage capacity, which helps reduce global warming and marine debris sustainably. The project aligns with Dow’s Sustainability Targets to protect the climate and to stop plastic waste.”
Dr. Dindo Campilan, Regional Director for Asia and Hub Director for Asia-Oceania, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said, “The business sector plays an integral part in protecting and restoring natural resources. Although mangrove forests occupy less area than other types of forests, their role in coastal ecosystems is notable as mangroves account for fourteen percent of carbon sequestration by the global ocean.
Dr. Chaweewan Hutacharern, Chairman of the Foundation for Environmental Education for Sustainable Development (Thailand), said, “The mangrove forests serve as a learning center that can raise awareness of tree planting among young visitors, which is in line with the late King Rama IX’s statement, ‘Trees should also be planted in the hearts of people, not only in soil.’ FEED will evaluate the potential of the learning center to develop a nature study trail and draw up an activity plan with input from the surrounding communities and local residents to attract tourists, further complementing the project’s overall objectives.”
Dr. Boripat Siriaroonrat, Chairman of the Green World Foundation, said, “The mangrove forest detective project makes learning about marine and coastal resources fascinating and fun. In 2022, we plan to conduct the projects twice to align with the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration’s Generation Restoration movement and drive its goals forward.”
Ms. Warangkana Rattanarat, RECOFTC's Program Director for Thailand, said, “RECOFTC will be overseeing the curriculum development for schools in the target area. The curriculum will cover topics like exploration, biodiversity, and climate change. Participation and contribution by teachers, students, and the surrounding communities will be encouraged to increase awareness of biodiversity in their communities so that sustainable management can be achieved.”
Mr. Nik Supatravanij, Project Manager of Second Life, said, “The question is not just why we must do something about marine plastic pollution, but also what should be done about it. Most of the plastic waste removed from the ocean is not valuable in the market and ends up in a landfill. At Second Life, we not only support local circular plastic supply chains, but also invest in new technology that can add value to plastic waste to generate new sources of income for communities and enhance the country’s efficiency in its overall waste management.”
Interested visitors can visit the project’s pilot area every day at the Pak Nam Prasae Natural Classroom in the Klaeng District of Rayong Province. The partnership is planned to expand to other areas in the provinces of Rayong, Chanthaburi, Trat, and more during the project’s five-year run.
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Dow Thailand Group
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Dow Thailand Group
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