The Nan landscape in Thailand is home to a forest ecosystem of vital importance to the country’s largest watershed, the Chao Phraya. In the Nan landscape, forested mountains surround river valleys that support extensive agricultural systems. Stretched across 1.2 million hectares, the Nan contains the Nan River, a principal tributary of the Chao Phraya River contributing 40 percent of its flow. The Chao Phraya supports the rich agriculture of central Thailand and the livelihoods of the urban delta communities, such as Bangkok, the capital. Due to agricultural land conversion in the Nan landscape, soil and sediments released into the river threaten the health of this ecosystem. Investments in sustainable forest management and agroforestry in Nan Province are crucial to protecting the Nan and Chao Phraya watersheds. The 480,000 people living in Nan Province include seven ethnic minorities. Securing their rights will enable them to generate incomes from agriculture and protect the ecosystem creating benefits for all of Thailand.
Nan by numbers
Total area of landscape: 1,200,000 hectares
Forest cover: 61.45 percent
Poverty rate: 21 percent
Entry points for investment to achieve the SDGs
Formalizing local communities' rights to manage forests
Fostering multi-stakeholder participation in establishing zones and guidelines for sustainable management of natural resources
Supporting development of inclusive forest-based business opportunities for women and other marginalized groups
The Nan landscape in Thailand and the people and biodiversity it shelters are threatened by land conversion and insecure land tenure. Empowered local communities must lead the sustainable development and the protection of this landscape, and at RECOFTC we have the vision, skills, relationships and experience to support their leadership. Since 2012, we have helped the people of the Nan landscape build their capacity to secure their land tenure and resources rights, govern and manage their lands and improve their livelihoods. Today, there are tremendous new opportunities to further support local communities, government, civil society and the private sector to overcome these threats. We offer three entry points for action that will foster prosperous communities and a thriving landscape by capitalizing on the ambitions of the communities, our experience in Nan and the work of many other organizations. Through investments in Nan we can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. By 2030, we can lift more than 11,000 people out of poverty, empower marginalized groups to take active roles in decision-making by increasing representation in community forest groups to at least 35 percent, strengthen the capacity of more than 120 smallholders to sustainably improve forest productivity and foster sustainable management of 4,300 hectares of forests. And by securing land rights, we can enable Thailand to foster good forest governance and mitigate and adapt to climate change.
- Agricultural land conversion is driving massive deforestation, increasing the vulnerability of local people to natural disasters, food insecurity and other effects of climate change.
- Erosion and logging destabilize the landscape and lead to severe flooding, landslides, inconsistent water supply and impaired water quality.
Annual income per household is around 7,000 US dollars.
Nan has the highest unemployment rate and one of the highest debt burdens of all provinces in the country
- Nan has the third highest land tenure insecurity among the provinces of Thailand
- Complex legal regulations and unclear guidelines make it difficult to get sustainably harvested teak to timber-consuming markets
- Local people, particularly women and low-income groups, have limited involvement in decisions about allocation and management of natural resources.