01 December 2017
Thesis Examination: Operational Process of a Non-state Initiated Payment for Environmental Service Pilot Project in Pong Khrai Village, Mae Sa Watershed, Northern Thailand by Elizabeth King
Events Detail : -

Regional Center for Social Sciences and Sustainable Development (RCSD) Master of Arts in Social Science Program (Development Studies), Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University (CMU)
is pleased to invite you to participate in a Thesis Examination:

Operational Process of a Non-state Initiated Payment for Environmental Service Pilot Project in Pong Khrai Village, Mae Sa Watershed, Northern Thailand

Presenter: Ms. Elizabeth King, M.A in Social Science (Development Studies)

Examining committee:
Dr. Surin Onprom, (Faculty of Forestry, Kasetsart University)
Dr. Chusak Wittayapak, (Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University)
Dr. Arratee Ayuttacorn, (Faculty of Social Sciences, Chiang Mai University)

Friday 1 December 2017, 13.00-16.00 hrs
Subaltern Meeting room, basement floor, Operational Building, Faculty of Social Sciences

About the topic:
This research contributes to the understanding of payment for environmental service (PES) projects and their potential usefulness in restoring watershed forests through market-based partnerships. The case study was a two-year pilot project in the Mae Sa watershed where a local bottled water company made payments of approximately $6,000 USD to a village for their work to restore 10 rais (1.6 hectares) of degraded land to forest. The agreement was mediated by Lowering Emissions from Asia’s Forests (LEAF) through a grant allocated to Winrock International by the United Stated Agency for International Development (USAID). All activities and payments were completed successfully and the project was implemented a second time. The researcher organized interviews, site visits, and participation in activities, and reviewed and analyzed project documents and government reports in order to lay out the mechanisms that were developed and the processes that lead to an agreement.

The interaction of local residents, business, state sub-district and environmental authorities, and non-state experts could not have come together on its own. It required considerable time and financing from LEAF. Environmental services related to water and carbon sequestration were bundled in a way that allowed local and regional stakeholders to achieve their goals, while simultaneously, assisting state agencies in encouraging more community involvement in forest restoration efforts. This research suggests that concerns about the local water supply and a territorial border are more influential in motivating participation than expectations of monetary rewards. The introduction of new forest restoration techniques had a significant impact at the local level.

This research contributes to a better understanding of best practices for non-state actors hoping to negotiate market-based conservation projects. Project mediators would benefit from identifying stakeholders with a pre-existing interest in the environment and starting with small, short-term goals. Transparency, broad inclusiveness, and involvement of government stakeholders were essential in building trust among the stakeholders. The creation of a project committee tasked with resolving problems and capable of replicating the negotiation process is recommended if PES projects are to be replicable and sustainable in the Thai context.

About the Speaker:
Eza King is a graduate student, Master Arts in Social Science (Development Studies), the Faculty of Social Science, Chiang Mai University. After receiving her B.A. in Economics and Environmental Science from the University of Virginia in the United States, she served as a Peace Corps development agent in Senegal, West Africa, promoting activities to combat desertification within the local school system. She then directed a recycling center designed to empower marginalized young adults for the San Francisco Conservation Corps, where she also supported the introduction of the city’s first residential composting program. For almost a decade, she has studied conditions that encourage well-being while working aboard National Geographic’s fleet of expedition ships. These explorations around the edges of the North Atlantic Ocean, the Artic, Central America, and Alaska led to her curiosity about Thailand’s Sufficient Economy Principles, environmental restoration industries, and beneficial climate change adaptations. Her background and interests contribute to her research into emerging economic incentives and new expertise for forest restoration efforts in northern Thailand.