Smallholders in Thailand and REDD+ and FLEGT linkages

The Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) have common interests and goals. Both work towards reducing pressures on natural forest by addressing underlying causes of deforestation and degradation. Both can have important impacts on climate mitigation by effecting important land-use changes.

This article highlights a potential opportunity for FLEGT and REDD+ initiatives that focus on smallholders in Thailand. Smallholders are individual farmers or farmer families whose primary livelihood activity is farming. Their farm areas may include trees that support household needs, either through cash transactions or direct use.

Smallholders throughout the tropics grow and manage trees on farms (Zomer et al. 2009), which may include small plantations. In some regions, including Southeast Asia, the number of industrial forest plantations has grown (STCP 2009); these include smallholder plantations and large plantations. Some countries also have successful community-managed forests (Porter-Bolland et al. 2012).

This article discusses two examples of smallholder plantations and one community-managed forest in Thailand:

  • the Inpang Network, a farmer cooperative in Northeast Thailand that is growing and managing trees, including small woodlot plantations, as part of their farmland mosaic;
  • rubber plantations in Nakhon Phanom province along the border with Lao PDR; and
  • a group of 31 villages in Mahasarakham province who manage or co-manage community forests with government agencies.