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NSTDA update research findings

05 March 2021

In a follow up to a meeting in 2019, WWF Thailand met up with the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) for an update on the “GHG emissions mitigation – case study in slope areas (deforested areas)” report based on recommendations, comments, and discussions from the 2019 meeting.

 © WWF Thailand

The report was originally commissioned to NSTDA by WWF-Thailand in 2019, with goals to be completed by 2020. However  due to delays to field visits and hence data collection and analysis caused by the COVID 19 pandemic, this meeting and completion of the report pushed back to 2021
Amendments were made to the report based on comments from the meeting in 2019, and this meeting was another opportunity to present the findings and collect feedback before final changes are made and the final report is published.  
The meeting was attended by representatives from
  • WWF Thailand
  • the Bureau of Water Resources Policy and Planning from the Department of Water Resources
  • the Forest Research and Development Bureau from the Royal Forest Department (RFD),
  • the Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE),
  • the Land Development Department (LDD),
  • Air Quality and Noise Management Division from the National Pollution Control Department (PCD),
  • The Department of Science from King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT)
  • Field and Renewable Energy Crops Research Institute (FCRI) from the Department of Agriculture  (DOA)
  • Bureau of Animal Husbandry and Genetic Improvement from the department of livestock
  • Thailand Green House Gas Management Organization
With representatives from a wide array of bodies, the meeting created an atmosphere for discussion, debate, and feedback which will help improve the quality of the final report.
The results of the study were presented by Dr. Nongnuch Poolsawad, and researchers Tassaneewan Chom-in and Wanwisa Thanungkano, who are all part of the Technology and Informatics Institute for Sustainability (TIIS) under the NSTDA.

 Dr. Nongnuch Poolsawad (left) presenting research findings © WWF Thailand

The study found that that maize, the monoculture crop targeted for conversion by the FLR349 agroforestry model, emitted 1,641.6 kgCO2eq/hectare (kilograms of carbon equivalent per hectare). This number goes up 6140.31kgCO2eq/hectare when taking the emission released when farmers burn stubble to clear the land. This burning is required as the areas are often sloped and machinery cannot be used to clear the land. these results are up from 2019.   

Tassaneewan Chom-in (middle) presenting research findings © WWF Thailand

Take this away from the 4902.5 kgCO2eq/hectare amount of carbon stock maize can store, means maize emits over 1000kg of kgCO2eq/hectare
In comparison, a mixed agricultural system like the FLR349 model, generates a carbon stock of 65035.9 kgCO2eq/hectare

Wanwisa Thanungkano presenting research findings © WWF Thailand

These results suggest that the FLR349 Fund is a viable agroforestry model which could be applied to the north of Thailand – and upscaled nationwide – to combat the environmental issues caused by forest conversion and monoculture agriculture.
What is the FLR349 Fund?

FLR349 Fund is a fund that has been developed based on the King’s Philosophy of “Three Forests, Four Benefits” and the development of a value chain which could become a model for farmers living in watershed areas. The FLR349 Fund helps farmers turn their agricultural operation from forest-encroaching mono-agriculture with intensive use of chemicals into the “Three Forests, Four Benefits” agricultural system which helps to restore the environment by stopping the destruction of top soil. Farmers learn to grow perennial trees, fruit trees, vegetables and herbs in a mixed system that is sustainable, and which replenishes the soil. Such plantations function like carbon sinks and water reservoirs which make possible the production of diverse and safe foods for consumption. It helps to empower farmers and their community, helps to reduce their living expenses, and helps to keep them healthy. As a result, they can break free from the endless cycle of debt that has trapped many farmers in our current food system. This system is consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
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Abhinand Aryapratheep