A prototype community to conserve nature and solve the pollution crisis

28 December 2020

Corporate Communication and Alumni Relations Center (CCARC)

The smog that occurs in the northern areas is an ongoing and pressing problem due to particles (PM2.5) that exceed the air quality standards of Thailand. Chiang Mai University has always focused on environmental issues and to solve the pollution problem in a concrete way.

Therefore, a CMU Model project was created in cooperation between Chiang Mai University and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation to emphasize a participatory management approach between communities. The university is treating Ban Pa Tung Ngam, Ping Khong Subdistrict, Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai Province as pilot and prototype areas. This is to encourage the participatory management of soil, water, and forest conservation areas, promote local products, create occupations, increase income, reduce burning, enhance the quality of life of the community, and to sustainably tackle the issues of smog and forest fires

The CMU Model promotes and builds on academic knowledge and innovation in various dimensions. By establishing a working group that was cooperated by many faculties in Chiang Mai University, namely the Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration, Faculty of Agriculture, and Research Institute of Health Sciences which are under the management of the Center for Environmental Science Research, along with the national park. The goal is to focus on addressing the root causes of the issues. The activities were carried out according to the participatory forest management approach in Sri Lanna National Park to effectively solve the problem of smog and forest fires in the actual areas. Also, there was the monthly planning meeting with the villagers to promote the understanding of the adequate use of natural resources, ensuring that human action does not have a negative effective on wildlife, biodiversity, and ecosystems within the park. To implement this plan, smog is now closely monitored and the plan to create the Pa Tung Ngam Community Enterprise to promote professional development in the community is being enacted. It also supports the creation of learning areas, the community, and the forest. Activities such as planting activities to increase forest area, building check dams, and having training courses for staff are highly beneficial and under the framework of the Ping Khong sub-district area management framework in Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai Province.

In addition, product development from community resources is advocated. The product under the name Zhakara (ethnic wisdom) is combined with modern design, creating income for people in the area, raising the quality of life by advancing careers based on local wisdom which is applicable for real purposes. It will be displayed at the innovation and distribution event at the Lanna Expo 2020.

Chiang Mai University and all Faculties/Divisions/Institutes are committed to developing the CMU Model to be successful and expanding the knowledge and results to other areas and communities, to conserve and maintain natural resources and their fertility, as well as to benefit both directly and indirectly the community. This includes improving the well-being of people living in the forest and to be enable them to live in the traditional way of life and to cooperate in the preservation of the forest.