Forests for Earth | WWF

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Introduction

In August 2017, WWF-TH implemented a conservation project in Chiangmai and Nan provinces, where there are predominantly watershed forests and whose landscapes have high biodiversity values, to address the unsustainable issues in the food system. At least 40% of their watershed forested areas, including conservation forests, and national parks are lost due to agricultural conversion, causing damage to forest resources and ecosystem services. It is therefore critical to restore the health of the degraded landscape, which will ultimately improve local communities' livelihood, food security, climate, and overall ecosystem integrity.

We work collectively with various stakeholders, ranging from government, business, NGOs, social enterprises and cooperatives to local communities and smallholder farmers. We focus on conservation and areas of high environmental priority especially in areas where a high level of deforestation is taking place. Approximately 800,000ha of forest in Thailand has been encroached upon for cash crop plantation, primarily maize. These are mostly clustered in the watershed forests in northern Thailand. In preparing the land for cultivation, smallholder maize farmers choose to adopt the method of open burning of agricultural residues, which consequently leads to the problem of heavy haze pollution. Maize is used for animal feed, primarily in the production of meat, which Thailand exports to the world market. Over the past decades, maize has become a major driver of deforestation in northern Thailand, as well as in neighboring countries such as Myanmar and Lao PDR. In order to achieve a sustainable food system and to become resilient to climate impacts, it is important to reduce such agrochemical monoculture practices.

Problems we seek to solve.
Failing food systems, deforestation, and land degradation are key environmental problems that contribute to:
  • Unsustainable agricultural practices and deforestation: Mainstream food production is associated with intensive agrochemical monoculture and deforestation.
  • Ecosystem service trade-offs and externalities: The natural capital of healthy forest landscapes and its ecosystem services are being traded off for monoculture food production. Haze pollution occurs regularly due to slash and burn practices, and forest fires are more catastrophic as they are exacerbated by climate change.
  • Ecosystem degradation: Intensive agrochemical practices have caused soil degradation, drought, decline of pollinators, and impacts on agricultural productivity.
  • Failing local food: The local food system is transformed to monoculture agrochemical practices, leading to the crumbling of the local economy and failing of local food production systems, with people losing their ability to be self-reliant as a result.
  • Agribusiness control: Production relies heavily on agricultural inputs owned by agribusinesses, leaving only few benefits and bargaining power for smallholder farmers. There is growing inequality within the food chain of the capital markets.
  • Climate change: Climate impacts threaten food security, and while there are limited adaptation and mitigation practices in place, food security becomes even more vulnerable.
  • Lack of policy measures: Legal and economic measures for promoting sustainable agriculture do not exist.

Our Solutions
The collective actions from all stakeholders are crucial to tackle these problems. There is also a need to bridge the disconnection between consumers and producers- or smallholder farmers. Financial and institutional support have been identified as crucial solution measures.
The project, Forest for Earth addresses the failing local food system issues associated with socio-economics and ecosystem degradation by means of restoring degraded lands through agroecology, development of value chains and improving the local food system. The project aims at encouraging smallholders in watersheds areas to turn their forest-encroaching and intensive agrochemical mono- agriculture practice into a WWF-TH initiated solution model in 2017, called FLR349 fund “Three Forests, Four Benefits” under the “Sufficiency Economy Philosophy” of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, which helps to restore the degraded land along with development of value chains.
The selected sites, in Chiangmai and Nan provinces hold great transformative potential in achieving the forest landscape restoration target of 8000 hectares by 2030. With the financial incentives, capacity building and development of value chain for the smallholder farmers, based on the FLR349 solution model, these measures will encourage smallholder farmers to permanently shift away from intensive agrochemical monoculture practices.
The economic trade-off between natural capital of a healthy landscape against the production of primary food production will be mitigated through the FLR349 solution model that values the ecological, economic and social potential, and involved all actors within the decentralized local food system and social movements. It promotes agricultural production systems which value biological diversity and the services rendered by natural processes. Food production through agroecology with diversified local varieties and perennial crops will help restore degraded lands and forests, biodiversity and pollinators, as well as restore the carbon back into the soil. This will not only mitigate climate change, but improve ecosystem services.
With this project, a traceability platform will be developed (currently in progress) to link up stakeholders along the supply chain, enable them to access information and remote sensing data regarding the food supply chain, make donations to support the operation, track progress of the reforestation efforts. The implementation will be made traceable with clear indicators, such as carbon sequestration, SROI, well-being, biodiversity and others to guarantee socio-economic and environmental impacts. The end impact will contribute towards the increase of sustainable landscape production, forest landscape restoration, improved livelihoods and ecosystems.
Donation Breakdown
The Fund will provide each smallholder famer with 1-1.5-hectare land and a subsidy of 390 USD/ hectare /year for five years consecutively which should help with the transition to sustainable farming and increase their self-reliance even after termination of the FLR349 Fund. The cost per Hectare is 5,859 USD - for 6 years operation of FLR349 to sustain the restoration program. These are for seedlings, capacity building and susi for smallholders, plants nurturing, value chain development, traceability platform, and management. 938 seedlings of perennial crops will be planted in one hectare.


Types of Seedlings
  • Food crops such as cacao, avocado, coffee, or cash crops that grow within the forest landscape and is appropriate for the land: 188 trees per hectare.
  • Fruit trees such as moringa, mango, longan, lychee, and cashews: 125 trees per hectare.
  • Forest trees such as Teak, Java plum, Burmese Rosewood, Malacca tree, Black rosewood, Myrolan Wood, Iron wood, Beleric myrobalan, Siamese Neem Tree, white champaka , Kapok and native species: 625 trees per hectare
  • Trees that provide moisture, traps water, and restores the ecosystem like bananas: 400 trees per hectare
  • Herbs grown under shade of large trees: 1200 grove per hectare.

Activities and Budget for FLR349 in 1 Hectare
Activity Detail Amount (USD)/ Hectare
  1. Plant costs and land preparation
Plant Costs
- Banana 400 tree (@ 78 cents)
- Cacao 188 tree (@1.7 USD)
  • Fruit 125 tree (@2.2 USD)
  • Forest tree 625 tree (@30 cents)
  • Shrub and Herb 1,250 tree
1,104




Land Preparation
- Digging planting holes 938 hole (@16 cents)
- Planting and staking 938 hole (@9 cents)
- Generating QR code and QR code labeling 938 tree (@6 cents)
- Planting 938 tree (@10 cents)
391




  1. Farmer care
390 USD per year in 6 year
  • Survival rate tracking 2 times per year
  • Plant repairing
  • Weed removal and tree maintenance
- Protection against fire
2,344



  1. Management, monitoring, and evaluation fee
  • Knowledge management
  • Database management
  • Farmers and cash crop production tracking
  • Growth tracking
  • Tracking agricultural products throughout the supply chain
  • Tracking credits ratings throughout the supply chain.
- Public relations and communications
1,367





  1. Fund savings
Investment and support of social businesses in the supply chain. 654

Total cost of FLR per hectare

5,859

Our Achievements
A number of initiatives have been launched in Chiangmai and Nan provinces with the ultimate goal of preventing deforestation, and ensuring long-term sustainability of forest watersheds and food systems. Under the FLR349 fund, farmers are advised to shift from chemical- intensive farming practices to sustainable farming practices under the “Three Forests, Four Benefits” principle. It promotes a diversity of income sources and production modes as a sustainable strategy to secure economic needs, community livelihoods, and most importantly, freedom from a fractured food supply chain.


One of the FLR349 project sites, Baan Thub, in Mae Chaem district. The land adjustment and plantation took place in 2018.

From 2017- 2019, the project has provided support and worked together with smallholder farmers, cooperatives and local administrative organization at project sites. To date, 1370 smallholder farmers have benefited from the project, and more than 38 smallholder workshops were conducted to validate and share farming practices that better protect the environment. To date, a total of 400 hectares of maize plantation have been converted from monoculture to agroecology. They serve as model sites for sustainable agriculture and sustainable supply chains. A total of 83,558 seedlings of mixed varieties were planted on 72.8 hectares.

The FLR349 Fund is flagship model to restore watershed areas and reduce social inequality and food insecurity by applying the King’s Philosophy. It will be based on participation of all sectors and aims to yield collective benefits in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It is hoped that the FLR349 Fund model can be replicated in all areas throughout the country and the world. It is expected that by 2020, we will be able to fundraise 47 million USD to develop food production forests covering an area of 8,000 hectares and turn a denuded watershed area into a lush and green ecological system to ensure food security on a sustainable basis for our children.


Social & Environmental Impacts
As a part of monitoring, the WWF Thailand worked with 2 leading research institutes to evaluate the impacts from the FLR349 fund model,
1. Thailand Development and Research Institute (TDRI): Results from the analysis show that the social return on investment (SROI) from this project is 8.367, i.e. for every 1 Thai baht invested in the “FLR349 fund”, it generates the social benefits of 8.367 Thai baht.
Farmers: access a better health and improve the knowledge of farm management, as well as income increased.
  • Municipality: decrease in environmental management cost.
  • Consumers: get healthier from consuming organic food.
  • Restaurants: decrease in procurement expense of organic produces.
  • Network: get a stronger brand image
  • Government: decrease in healthcare expenses from downsizing agrochemical use.
2. National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA): the preliminary GHG emission research results showed that the net GHG emission of maize plantation is at least 3,743.125 kg CO2 eq.Ha-1yr-1, whereas FLR349 model, the mitigation model, could potentially generate at least total carbon stock of 209,293.75 kg CO2 eq.Ha-1 within 10 years. Therefore, this innovative solution model could contribute to national GHG mitigation strategies in agriculture, as well as forest restoration attempts.
Links to Documents
  • FLR349 Information: http://www.wwf.or.th/en/scp/reforestation_activity/flr_349/
  • FLR349 Brochure: https://d2ouvy59p0dg6k.cloudfront.net/downloads/flr___brochure___eng_for_press.pdf
  • What is the FLR349? (Introduction video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAIeAjwHKbk&feature=emb_logo
Annex
1.1 Projection of product outputs
1.2 Price of agricultural products

ANNEX 1.1: Projection of product outputs
Plant Cost per ha Yield per ha
Tree/Ha Cost(USD)/
Tree
Cost(USD)/Ha Kg/Plant/Year Kg/Ha/ Year Price/Kg (USD) Income/Ha (USD)
1. Banana 400 0.78125 312.5 10 4000 0.47 1,875.00
2. Cacao 188 1.71875 323.125 5 940 2.41 2,261.88
3. Fruit optional
3.1 Mango 125 2.1875 273.4375 20 2500 0.47 1,171.88
3.2 Cashew nut 125 0.15625 19.53125 17 2125 0.63 1,328.13
3.3 Moringa 125 0.46875 58.59375 3 375 2.50 937.50
3.4 Coffee (Robusta spp) 625 0.3125 195.3125 1.5 937.5 1.56 1,464.84
4. Forest tree 625 0.3125 195.3125
Optional plants
1. pumpkin 188 0.625 117.5 20 3760 0.47 1,762.50
2. Backyard garden :
  • Cabbage
1250 5 6250 1 1250 0.47 585.94
  • Ginger
1250 0.9375 1171.875 2 2500 1.88 4,687.50
FLR349 business model for smallholders
Product/Activity Cost per household Cost (THB) Income per household
Unit Income (THB)/year
1.green house /organic smart farm 1 250,000 350,000
2. mushroom / organic green house 1 100,000 200,000
3.Handicraft /Woven fabric 1 30,000 48,000
Cost per household Income per household
Unit Cost(THB)/
Tree
Cost (THB) Income (THB)/
year
4. Hemp 640.00 10.00 6,400 30,000
Unit Cost (THB)/
Box
Cost (THB)/
Household
Product (Bottle:
1 Liter)/Box
Price (THB)/
Bottle
Income(THB)/
Household
5. Pollinator /Bee 15 300 4,500 3 200 9,000
Unit Cost (THB) Cost (THB)/
Household
Cost Feed (THB)/
Year
Product (Egg)/Day Price (THB)/
Egg
Income (THB)/
Household/Year
6.Egg farming 100 50 5,000 2,400 70 3 31,500

ANNEX1.2 : PRICE OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
Activity Detail tree/unit Cost
(USD)
Amount
(USD)
Amount (USD)/ Hectare
  1. Plant costs and land preparation
Plant Costs 1,104.38
1. Banana 400 0.78 312.50
2. Cacao 188 1.72 323.13
3. Fruit 125 2.19 273.44
4. Forest tree 625 0.31 195.31
5. Shrub and Herb 1250 -
Land Preparation 391.00
Digging planting holes 938 0.16 146.56
Planting and staking 938 0.09 87.94
Generating QR code and QR code labeling 938 0.06 58.63
Planting 938 97.87
  1. Farmer care
390 USD per year in 6 year 6 390.67 2344.02 2,344.00
  • Survival rate tracking 2 times per year
  • Plant repairing
  • Weed removal and tree maintenance
  • Protection against fire
  1. Management, monitoring, and evaluation fee
  • Knowledge management
1,367.00 1,367.00
  • Database management
  • Farmers and cash crop production tracking
  • Growth tracking
  • Tracking agricultural products throughout the supply chain
  • Tracking credits ratings throughout the supply chain.
  • Public relations and communications
  1. Fund savings
Investment and support of social businesses in the supply chain. 654.00 654.00
Total 5,860