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Journal of Sustainable Forestry
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Protected Area Co-management and Land use
Conflicts Adjacent to Phu Kao – Phu Phan Kham
National Park, Thailand
Issara Phromma, Adcharaporn Pagdee, Ananya Popradit, Atsushi Ishida &
To cite this article: Issara Phromma, Adcharaporn Pagdee, Ananya Popradit, Atsushi Ishida &
Somkid Uttaranakorn (2019): Protected Area Co-management and Land use Conflicts Adjacent
to Phu Kao – Phu Phan Kham National Park, Thailand, Journal of Sustainable Forestry, DOI:
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/10549811.2019.1573689
Published online: 10 Feb 2019.
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Protected Area Co-management and Land use Conﬂicts
Adjacent to Phu Kao –Phu Phan Kham National Park, Thailand
, Adcharaporn Pagdee
, Ananya Popradit
, Atsushi Ishida
and Somkid Uttaranakorn
Department of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand;
College of Innovative Management, Varaya Alongkorn Rajabhat University, Klongluang, Patumthani,
Center for Ecological Research, Kyoto University, Otsu, Shiga, Japan;
Department of National Parks,
Wildlife and Plant Conservation, Bangkok, Thailand
This study examined land use conﬂicts between three villages and Phu
Kao –Phu Phan Kham National Park in northeast Thailand that resulted
from its access and utilization during 2013–2015. The source ofconﬂict is
usufruct rights, a government entitlement program designed to honor
villagers who lived on the land before it was established as a national
park or forest reserve. Ironically, designation of protected areas is not
a safeguard for biodiversity. A complex set of rules and regulations
control access to resources, but compliance is subject to government
oversight and economic pressure to improve quality of life. Granting
usufruct rights may reduce certain land use conﬂicts, but they fail to
address agricultural expansion inside park and forest boundaries. For
example, agricultural encroachment in this protected area increased by
13.1% during the study period, mainly through cassava plantings.
Cassava requires a small amount of maintenance and has a high market
value since it is being promoted as an energy crop by the Thai govern-
ment. A variety of management strategies are needed for sustainable
forestry, such as regular forest patrols, reduction of agricultural-based
income, and community-based initiatives.
rights; land use conﬂict; Phu
Kao –Phu Phan Kham
Forested areas worldwide decreased about 3% in 2015, from 4,128 million ha in 1990 to
3,999 million ha (Keenan et al., 2015). Yet Southeast Asia (i.e., Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar,
Thailand, and Vietnam) has experienced a higher rate of forest loss since 2000 than any other
region (Achard et al., 2014; Margono, Potapov, Turubanova, Stolle, & Hansen, 2014; Richards
& Friess, 2016), mainly due to lowland cultivation (Chen et al., 2015; Zeng, Estes, et al., 2018).
Remaining forests are located in the uplands, mostly at elevations above 300 m (Scott, 2014).
In Thailand, statistics from the Royal Forest Department (RFD
) reveal a continuous
decline in forested areas from 1961 to 1998. During this 37-year period, over one-half of the
CONTACT Adcharaporn Pagdee email@example.com Department of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science,
Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand
Color versions of one or more of the ﬁgures in the article can be found online at www.tandfonline.com/wjsf.
The RFD is Thailand’s main authority in forest protection outside the protected areas. In 1997, the RFD was reorganized in
attempts to elucidate forest management authorities and improve forest management eﬀectiveness. Its authority and
responsibility on protected areas, including national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, were transferred to the DNP. The RFD
authority currently focuses on management of national forest reserves and other conserved forests outside the protected
areas, including community forests which mostly locate in the national forest reserves.
JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY
© 2019 Taylor & Francis
country (53.3%) experienced forest loss (from 27 million ha to 13 million ha) (RFD, 2017).
Deforestation rates were approximately 2.1% per year, peaking in the mid-1970s with annual
losses of 6.0% (RFD, 2017). Although the Thai government declared a commercial logging
ban in 1989, deforestation continued due to country’s economic growth in the early 1990s
(Trisurat, 2007). This trend changed after the Department of National Park, Wildlife and
Plant Conservation (DNP) started using high-resolution images (Landsat-7 ETM
50,000 scale for forest mapping. The new procedure actually showed an increase in
Thailand’s forested areas from 25.3% in 1998 to 31.6% in 2017 (DNP, 2018a; RFD, 2017).
Although the causes of deforestation are complex and diﬀer by region, agricultural
activities tend to accelerate deforestation, resource degradation, and biodiversity loss
(Pardini, Nichols, & Püttker, 2017; Zimbres, Machado, & Peres, 2018). For example, agricul-
tural impacts of small-scale farming in Africa are not the same as large-scale operations in
Southeast Asia (Austin et al., 2017; Kovacic & Viteri Salazar, 2017; Lim, Prescott, De Alban,
Ziegler, & Webb, 2017; Wang & Qiu, 2017;Zeng,Gower,&Wood,2018). Changes are most
obvious in tropical countries such as Africa, Central and Latin America, South and Southeast
Asia where local people depend upon forest resources to maintain their livelihoods (Da Silva,
de Souza, & Furtado, 2013; de Jong, Liu, & Youn 2017; Keenan et al., 2015; Sudhakar Reddy et
Establishment of protected areas (PAs) worldwide, including national parks, is thought
to be one of the most eﬀective ways to reduce deforestation and biodiversity loss,
especially along the forest-farm interface (Abman, 2018; Donia, Mineo, Mascali, &
Sgroi, 2017). The amount and severity of forest loss, wildﬁre, and hunting are lower
inside national parks than in adjacent areas (Bruggeman, Meyfroidt, & Lambin, 2018;
Gray et al., 2016; Miranda, Corral, Blackman, Asner, & Lima, 2016; Pongpattananurak,
2018). However, many studies reveal negative impacts of PAs, including hinderances to
socio-economic growth (Donia et al., 2017), leakage eﬀects (Bruggeman et al., 2018), and
land use conﬂicts (Dhiaulhaq, De Bruyn, & Gritten, 2015; Dhiaulhaq, Wiset, Thaworn,
Kane, & Gritten, 2017; Fisher, Kim, Latifah, & Makarom, 2017; Kane, Dhiaulhaq, Sapkota,
& Gritten, 2018; Petursson & Vedeld, 2017; Soliku & Schraml, 2018; Ward, Stringer, &
Holmes, 2018; Yasmi, Kelley, & Enters, 2013).
After PA designation occurs, various prohibitions and land use restrictions are imposed
through legal or other means to achieve long-term conservation initiatives such as
ecosystem services and cultural values. These elements inﬂuence the relationship between
PA management and stakeholders, often resulting in conﬂict (Soliku & Schraml, 2018).
For example, park authorities enforce rules and regulations that limit local access and
ability to harvest forest products, graze livestock, and expand agricultural activities along
the forest-farm interface. These actions produced conﬂict since they can have a negative
eﬀect on local livelihoods (Kane et al., 2018; Patel et al., 2013; Soliku & Schraml, 2018;
Yasmi et al., 2013).
Conﬂict started to emerge after newly-established national parks claimed rights over
the land that was previously inhabited by villagers (Bruggeman et al., 2018; Soliku &
Schraml, 2018). Unclear boundaries between PAs and farmlands aggravated the situation
since both sides claimed ownership (Aparecida, Lima, & Ranieri, 2017; Brambilla &
Ronchi, 2016; Bruggeman et al., 2018; Fisher et al., 2017; Soliku & Schraml, 2018; Ward
et al., 2018). Segregation between villagers and park authorities was inevitable, thus
causing numerous collateral eﬀects such as land encroachment, illegal logging, poaching,
2I. PHROMMA ET AL.
and low participation in PA co-management activities (Tumusiime, Vedeld, & Gombya-
Ssembajjwe, 2011; Yasmi et al., 2013).
Protected areas, speciﬁcally national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, are a key conserva-
tion strategy for forest protection and biodiversity in Thailand. Its ﬁrst national park, Kao
Yai National Park, was enacted on September 18, 1962. For half a century, 187 national
parks and wildlife sanctuaries were established nationwide, covering approximately 19.3%
of Thailand and 60.6% of its total forested land (DNP, 2017a). Although PA designation is
beneﬁcial for conservation, this strategy has caused ongoing land use conﬂicts, especially
in marginal areas where boundary lines are not clearly demarcated (Dhiaulhaq et al., 2014,
2015,2017; Trisurat, 2007). This type of conﬂict often focuses on government eﬀorts that
impact agriculture, access, and community livelihoods (Soliku & Schraml, 2018) due to
overlapping rights between park and farm lands (Patel et al., 2013; Soliku & Schraml,
Several approaches have been implemented to reduce conﬂict, such as national land
reform (e.g., Sor Por Kor 4–01 or SPK 4–01
), PA co-management, and community forests
(CFs). In an attempt to resolve the situation, the Thai government declared the “1998
Cabinet Solution”on June 30, 1998 as a way to mediate conﬂicts over forestlands,
including those in: i) protected areas and watershed forests; ii) national forest reserves;
and iii) other conserved areas for forestry activities. Key guidelines included land inven-
tory, possession identiﬁcation and tenure security, clear demarcation, forest protection,
and livelihood improvement. In conﬂicting zones where threats to forest ecosystems and
biodiversity were apparent, and land possessions occurred either before or after establish-
ment of the protected forests, population relocation and resettlement orders were imposed
by the governmental authority. Meanwhile, if threats were minor and land possessions
existed before PA establishment, villagers were granted usufruct rights –permission to
continue using their land for agricultural purposes.
The 1998 Cabinet Solution has resulted in a large number of forest-farm claims. Nationwide,
2,517 villages with approximately 440,623 ha of lands located in and/or adjacent to national parks
gained usufruct rights over their land, under a claim certiﬁcate e.g., Sor Kor-1, without legal
ownership (DNP, 2018b). The highest number of claims was in northern Thailand, while
the second highest was in the northeast (39.1% and 27.2% of the total granted land areas,
respectively). Although the 1998 Cabinet Solution provided guidelines for land use conﬂict, it
also brought farming, a major source of deforestation and degradation, closer to PAs.
A case study at Phu Kao in Phu Kao –Phu Phan Kham National Park (PKNP),
northeast Thailand, was examined after implementation of the 1998 Cabinet Solution in
terms of land use patterns, community livelihoods and forest management situations.
Three villages in Phu Kao that pre-dated PKNP designation by 50 years were investigated:
Wangmon, Chaimongkon and Dongbak. Villagers at these three locations obtained
usufruct rights, based on the 1998 Cabinet Solution. Use of their land was limited to
speciﬁc agricultural practices within designated areas (approximately 1,600 ha). Has the
SPK 4–01 holders have possession rights to land allotted by the Land Reform Committee under the
Agricultural Land Reform Act of 1975, which aims to address the high rate of tenancy in certain parts
of the country, the large number of landless households, and encroachment of public lands for
cultivation. SPK 4–01 holders are beneﬁciaries of land allocation, including the right to transfer by
JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY 3
1998 Cabinet Solution escalated land use conﬂicts between PKNP and villagers or does it
support eﬀective forest protection as intended? We examined this situation in relation to
community livelihoods, forest access and use, and forest management activities. This study
oﬀers alternatives for sustainable forestry to minimize disturbances and conﬂicts in the
forest-farm interface, ensuring a beneﬁcial coexistence that promotes conservation.
Conﬂict arises when one or more parties compete for the same resource, resulting in
impairment (Patel et al., 2013). Protected area conﬂict is inevitable because the long-term
goals of preservation are incompatible with the needs of utilitarian societies, especially for
villagers who depend on local resources for their survival. According to Soliku and
Schraml (2018), the types and sources of PA conﬂict vary according to geographical
location, socio-economic and cultural contexts. In developing countries, PA conﬂicts are
mainly driven by impacts on livelihoods, while those in developed countries often focus
on social considerations such as emotional, recreational, and cultural values. Sources of
conﬂict vary, resulting in incremental outcomes, rather than those arising from a single-
source. This situation thwarts conﬂict management strategies since one issue may cause
other problems. Eﬀective conﬂict mediation must be inclusive, but context-speciﬁc and
ﬂexible (Dhiaulhaq et al., 2015; Soliku & Schraml, 2018).
This study developed a theoretical framework to blend types and causes of conﬂict
(Soliku & Schraml, 2018) with sources of impairment (Patel et al., 2013). We focused on
“agriculture and land use conﬂict”since it is a frequent outcome of PA designation,
especially those in the forest-farm interface, the classical unending issue surrounding forest
protection (Broegaard, Vongvisouk, & Mertz, 2017; Kane et al., 2018; Redpath et al., 2013;
Ward et al., 2018). Figure 1 depicts the study’s theoretical framework.
Materials and methods
Phu Kao –Phu Phan Kham National Park (PKNP) is Thailand’s 50th national park,
established in 1985. The site consists of three main areas: 1) Phu Kao (PK), located on the
northwest side, covering approximately 51.2% of the area; 2) Phu Phan Kham situated on
the east, covering approximately 22.4% of the area; and 3) a reservoir of Ubolratana
Dam –the largest dam in the northeast, covering about 26.4% of the area. This study took
place at PK (see Figure 2), located between latitudes 16° 44ʹ–17° 2ʹN and longitudes 102°
25ʹ- 102°43ʹE in Nongbua Lamphu Province, northeast Thailand. Phu Kao covers
16,500 ha, including 1,600 ha of land designated for community use (i.e., residential and
agricultural zones for villagers). Another 588 ha are reserved for Hui Bong Dam and its
reservoir, built in 2011 for irrigation purposes. Phu Kao’s geology consists mainly of
sandstone, mountains, and undulating valleys. It is among the most important fossil sites
for dinosaurs in Thailand, dating from the Mesozoic era. Forest vegetation includes dry
Dipterocarp, dry evergreen and mixed deciduous forests with approximate areas of 70%,
10%, and 10% of PK, respectively (PKNP, 2014). Biodiversity is high with at least 148 plant
4I. PHROMMA ET AL.
species (Popradit et al., 2015), 43 bird species (Global Species, 2017), 19 amphibian and 22
reptiles species (Chuaynkern, Youjaruen, Nuangsomsri, & Chuaynkern, 2011).
In 1970, the RFD declared PK as “Phu Kao National Forest Reserve”and logging
concessions were granted under a project called “Mai Kraya Loei”
Subsequently, communities expanded, especially from outsiders who worked for the
Types of PA conflicts (Soliku & Schraml, 2018): human-wildlife conflict; restricted access dispute;
agriculture and land use conflicts; exclusion in participation and information sharing; indigenous rights
and beliefs; population eviction, relocation and resettlement; park benefits and revenue distribution; and
law, legislation and policy.
Sources of impairment/causes of PA conflicts
Patel et al. (2013):
1) Access and use restriction
2) Benefit distribution
3) Competing demands
4) Conflict transformation capacity
6) Legal and policy framework
7) Participation and information
8) Resource quality
9) Tenure security
Soliku & Schraml (2018):
1) Illegal killing of wildlife
2) Wildlife induced damages to crops and livestock
3) Non-compensation for wildlife induced losses
4) Inability to derive previously enjoyed benefits from PAs
5) Competing national policies
(e.g. conservation & agricultural policies)
6) Lack of coordination with local institutions
7) Lack of alternative livelihood sources
8) Different social and cultural values for PAs
9) Land use rights (over-lapping land claims)
10) Inadequate engagement and involvement of stakeholders
in park establishment and management
11) Mistrust among various stakeholders
12) Unwillingness to leave ancestral home & deities
Interests e.g., forest and
Interests e.g., agricultural
Adoption of the
Socioeconomic and managerial impacts
•Forest management practices and policies?
Effects on forest ecology*
* We conducted a study on forest
edge effects to examine the
ecological aspect, by Phromma,
Pagdee, & Popradit (the manuscript is
in review in Scientic Reports-Nature.)
Figure 1. Theoretical framework for the analysis of land use conﬂicts in forest-farm interface.
Thailand’s logging was classiﬁed into two groups according to wood types: 1) valuable wood i.e., teak
and 2) other types of wood beside teak called “Mai Kraya Loei.”
JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY 5
logging companies. When the forest concessions were cancelled in 1977, most of PK
forest reserve, especially the interior, was absorbed into PKNP. Only peripheral buﬀers
(around 5km distance) between the park and towns remained as PK forest reserve
(PKNP, 2014). However, community expansion continued. Popradit et al. (2015)
documented the size of three villages (i.e., residential area) that increased in size
from about 9 ha to 123.2 ha during a 20-year period (1991–2011). Community
livelihoods were subsistence-based, including rice cultivation and vegetables for house-
hold consumption. Nowadays, cash crops such as cassava, sugarcane and para-rubber
are the main income drivers, although the latter is illegal according to the 1998
Cabinet Solution (Oﬃce of the National Economic and Social Development Board,
Two study approaches were used to examine land use patterns, access and use, and
forest management activities: 1) a questionnaire for villagers in the three communities;
Figure 2. Land use patterns of Phu Kao in 2015.
6I. PHROMMA ET AL.
and 2) satellite image interpretation and ﬁeld surveys. For the household survey,
were randomly selected and asked some closed-ended questions, fol-
lowed by some semi-structured items that consisted of: (i) household socioeconomic
information; (ii) land possession and forest use activities; and (iii) participation in forest
management activities. In total, 348 household heads or representatives (approximately
66.5% of the households) participated in the survey during August, 2014. Furthermore,
each village leaders, head of PKNP, park rangers, and local administrative oﬃcers at
Khok Muang Sub-district Administration Organization (SAO) were interviewed about
land use conﬂicts and management strategies.
Satellite image interpretation was based on satellite imagery from 2015 Google Earth
(scale 1:4000) with park and village boundary coordinates obtained from PKNP, the Oﬃce
for Conservation of Natural Resources and Environment. A land use map depicting village
locations, agricultural areas, PKNP and PK forest reserve boundaries was created using GIS
software (ArcGIS 10.2.2, Environmental Systems Research Institute, Redlands, CA). Field
checks, including household and farmland locations were recorded using a GPS receiver
(Garmin 60Csx, Garmin, Olathe, KS, USA), in consultation with PKNP oﬃcers, especially
on park boundaries and village designated zones, were conducted for data validation.
Secondary data on demographic information, agricultural land use and land rights were
also collected from Non Sang District Agricultural Extension Oﬃce (NSDAEO) and Khok
Muang and Nikhom Pattana SAOs. We examined land use changes in percentages (i.e.,
between 2013 and 2015 and average of annual) by comparing our ﬁndings with data from
NSDAEO and Popradit et al. (2015).
Descriptive statistics were calculated, followed by
Chi-squared test of independence and t-tests to examine the relationship between house-
hold socioeconomic conditions and community participation in forest management and
beneﬁt distribution using SPSS 20 (IBM SPSS Statistics, NY).
Results and discussion
Dynamics of community livelihoods and land use patterns
Villagers lived in the forest before the park was established. According to the Millennium
Ecosystem Assessment (2005), ecosystems that determine and contribute value to com-
munity livelihoods, e.g., norms and traditions, are classiﬁed as cultural services. Yet,
livelihoods change over time, thus aﬀecting land use patterns. In 1935, only seven house-
holds were in PK, about 50 years before PKNP was established. Villagers were related to
each other and their livelihoods depended upon non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and
rice cultivation, mainly for household consumption. Agricultural production relied on
The sample size was determined by n = N/1 + N(e)
, when N = the total number of households from all three
villages and e = the level of error at 5% (Yamane, 1967). As of July 2014, N = 523 households, so the
minimal sample size was 227 households. Moreover, simple random sampling was employed for house-
hold selection. Our research team walked through each of the three villages and asked household heads or
representatives at random if they wanted to participate in the questionnaire survey. In total, we inter-
viewed 348 household heads or representatives.
Popradit et al. (2015) used digital maps Orthophoto/Ortho-Image of 2014 land use data, scale 1:4000,
from the Land Development Department.
JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY 7
animal labor, especially water buﬀaloes and cows, to plow the land and transport farm
products to market.
Subsistence living changed in 1970 when PK was designated as a national forest reserve
and a logging concession was granted. Logging brought outsiders to PK, especially those
who worked for the timber companies. Although logging ended in 1977, communities
continued to expand because many of the workers remained and joined with migrants
from nearby towns (Popradit et al., 2015). The expansion slowed in recent years, but
demographic statistics from Non Sang Civil Registration Section (NSCRS) revealed an
increase in population, especially from nuclear families, which is typical in rural north-
eastern Thailand (Rigg & Salamanca, 2011,2012). In 2007, the population consisted of
2,032 individuals in 459 households, but by 2016, the number of residents had grown to
2,163, occupying 548 households.
Community expansion also meant greater demands for land and resources (Holden &
Otsuka, 2014; Jantz & Manuel, 2013;Santangelo,2018). Meanwhile, market-oriented inﬂuences
and modernization started to reach the villages. Subsistence-based livelihoods could not persist,
replaced by a revenue-based economy. Subsequently, agriculture replaced forestry, especially
cash-crop plantations (Su, Yang, Hu, Luo, & Wang, 2014;Su,Zhou,Wan,Li,&Kong,2016;
Rasmussen, Watkins, & Agrawal, 2017;Zeng,Estes,etal.,2018). Agriculture using animal labor
also changed, relying more on machinery, hired workers, and chemicals to maximize crop
productivity. Farmers tended to rely on external, not internal farm-inputs (Koike, 2009;
McArthur & McCord, 2017; Riwthong, Schreinemachers, Grovermann, & Berger, 2015).
Changes in agricultural practices (e.g., labor, tools and equipment, and chemicals)
produced shifts in community socioeconomics (e.g., education expenses, household appli-
ances and vehicles) that required additional income (Garip, 2014; Rigg & Salamanca, 2011,
2012). Villagers reported using hired labor in all stages of cultivation. Approximately 7%
of the households owned machines, especially rototillers and tractors, while others used
rental equipment, that can cost up to 2,500 Baht
per ha. The use of chemicals, including
fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides in plantations were direct attempts to maximize crop
productivity for meeting market demands, but it also increased production costs. Janta,
Pagdee, and Uttaranakorn (2017) reported that nearly 53% of production costs for
villagers at this study site went toward application of chemical fertilizers in cassava
Farming expenses often involve cash payments, which in turn, put residents into debt.
Villagers responded by working oﬀ-farm, usually as wage laborers in cities and/or other
farms, to earn additional income. Moreover, they often borrowed money from banks or
agricultural cooperatives, relatives, or wealthy neighbors. Most of their earnings went
toward debt repayment, with only small proﬁts and savings from selling agricultural
products. Using their land as collateral was the last solution when cash was needed for
household spending, especially college tuition, automobile purchases, and agricultural
Livelihood dynamics directly inﬂuenced land use patterns. Access and use restriction
imposed by the park created tensions for land use conﬂict, especially when needs
increased, but available resources were scarce. A comparison of land use data during
2013–2015 (Table 1) indicated that total residential area remained unchanged. In contrast,
USD1 = 34.25 Baht (April 19, 2017).
8I. PHROMMA ET AL.
satellite image interpretation in 2015 revealed that agricultural areas increased 66.0% from
1,092.2 ha in 2013 to 1,809.6 ha in 2015. The latter is greater than the 1,600-ha designated
area (blue line in Figure 2) with approximately 13.1% of agricultural expansion into
adjacent forests i.e., PKNP and PK forest reserve, where protection and management
fall under two diﬀerent authorities, the DNP and RFD, respectively. The majority of land
is devoted to cash crop plantations, especially cassava because it required a small amount
of maintenance and villagers could usually sell it for a high price.
Moreover, cassava is
promoted as an energy crop by the Thai government in the 2012–2021 Alternative Energy
Development Plan (Sutabutr, 2012), incentivizing its production. As a result, cassava
plantations increased rapidly from 497 ha in 2013 to 1,464 ha (80.9% of total agricultural
area) in 2015, or on average, 94.0% per year.
Rice planting occurred in lowland areas. While most of the harvest was for household
consumption, the area for rice paddies decreased from 374 ha in 2013 to 287 ha in 2015
because farmers shifted to cassava production. Sugarcane is also planted on the high-
lands, similar to cassava. However, many villagers stopped planting sugarcane and
switched to cassava mainly due to price ﬂuctuation and high production costs.
Sugarcane production decreased drastically from 203 ha in 2013 to 13 ha in 2015.
Lastly, some Para-rubber plantations were observed, especially in areas adjacent to the
park border. Although it is illegal to plant this tree in and/or around protected areas,
there is an economic incentive to do so. Park oﬃcials told farmers to stop planting Para-
rubber trees, but this message could have been lost since Thai government oﬃcials
encouraged this practice in the northeast, especially during 2004–2006. Some villagers
stopped planting this tree, but others continued to do so, despite park restriction. Field
surveys and satellite imagery revealed an increase in Para-rubber plantations from 19 ha
in 2013 to 45 ha in 2015.
Table 1. Land use patterns and change during 2013–2015.
2013* 2014** 2015***
Residential area 123.2 7.7 123.2 7.7 123.2 7.7 0.0
Farmlands 1,092.2 68.3 1,345.7 84.1 1,809.6 113.1
●Cassava 496.5 45.5 595.2 44.2 1,463.8 80.9 94.0
●Rice 374.1 34.3 500.2 37.2 287.4 15.9 −11.0
●Sugarcane 202.9 18.6 219.2 16.3 13.0 0.7 −53.0
●Para rubber 18.7 1.7 31.2 2.3 45.4 2.5 57.0
Woodland, rock outcrops, barren areas 162.2 10.1 162.2 10.1 114.4 7.2 −15.0
Total 1,377.6 86.1 1,631.2 101.9 2,047.2 128.0
Source: *Non Sang District Agricultural Extension Oﬃce (NSDAEO); ** (Popradit et al., 2015); ***Satellite imagery
interpretation from 2015 Google Earth
The number indicates land use expansion beyond the 1,600 ha designation.
During 2012–2016, cassava prices were relatively high averaging 146.78 Baht per ton. Meanwhile,
prices of other cash crops, such as rice and sugarcane plummeted (OAE, 2017).
Price of sugarcane dropped approximately 3.14% during 2012–2016 (OAE, 2017) with averaged
production costs about 65,513.31 Baht/ha, while averaged costs of cassava plantation were
41,706.56 (OAE, 2016).
JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY 9
All land use activities in the designated area resulted from usufruct rights granted to
villagers who claimed the 1998 Cabinet Solution. Yet, they did not obtain ownership of the
land, only a claim certiﬁcate or Sor Kor-1 in Thai. This is one source of land use conﬂict
known as “tenure insecurity”(Patel et al., 2013). Land rights give villagers, and their descen-
dants, permission to conduct farming activities. Under this agreement, villagers are not
allowed to sell or lease their land to others. However, secondary data from NSCRS revealed
about one fourth of the villagers were also land tenants. Some villagers kept their original
usufruct rights, but rented other land to generate additional income beyond agriculture.
This type of lease is based on customary practice, rather than formal documentation.
Since villagers cannot legally sell or lease their land, tenancy security depends solely on
trustworthiness –ideally suited for small community settings where villagers remain close-
knit. However, population growth and other socioeconomic changes may have put this
practice in jeopardy (Sklenicka, Janovska, Salek, Vlasak, & Molnarova, 2014). Although
many villagers appeared to uphold their land rights, some individuals already lost their
land. Landless villagers must move farther into protected forests, resulting in even more
deforestation (Rudel, 2015; Suhardiman, Giordano, Keovilignavong, & Sotoukee, 2015).
Tenure insecurity incentivizes villagers to transfer their usufruct rights to others for
greater monetary returns. Although villagers usually practice land right transfer among
community members, some sell theirs to outsiders for cash. This practice generates another
type of land use conﬂict, social discrimination and loss of farmlands (Suhardiman et al.,
2015; Wittayapak & Baird, 2018). Outsiders are so-called “remote land users”or “absentee
land owners”who do not directly use the land, but instead, hire local villagers to work for
them. This land use practice results in a situation where villagers lose a sense of ownership
and connection with the land. Furthermore, villager permission to use the land is question-
able since remote users do not actually live in the area, so they can transfer land rights to
others at any time. Only 10 cases of this land use practice were recognized in PK, but all of
them appeared to represent illegal and/or unacceptable activities i.e., Para-rubber planta-
tion, agricultural expansion, and livestock grazing beyond permitted areas.
Use of forest resources: conservation vs. forest-people interdependence
Villagers have a tradition of using forest resources, including NTFPs, in rural Thailand
(Kumsap & Indanon, 2016). Forests are considered as grazing areas, a source of household
income, and a local super market where villagers can obtain food, fuel, and other necessities
on demand. Forests support the local economy because villagers can use them to reduce
household spending and earn additional income. Rules and regulations imposed for con-
servation purposes restrict villager access and use of forest resources inside the park.
However, conﬂicts are inevitable and can be intensiﬁed if lack of alternative resources for
villagers to maintain their livelihoods, especially among poorer households, are needed
(Adam & Eltayeb, 2016; Patel et al., 2013; Soliku & Schraml, 2018; Ward et al., 2018).
Survey results indicated that harvesting NTFPs is the most popular activity (i.e., 84% of
respondents collected mushrooms, bamboo shoots and wild vegetables) in nearby forests,
including PKNP. Approximately 75% of villagers harvested fuelwood, while 46% of them
hunted wildlife and animal products, including frogs, ant eggs, small reptiles and amphibians.
Socioeconomic conditions have little inﬂuence on NTFP harvesting since it is part of rural
livelihoods. However, we observed a signiﬁcant association between hunting and amounts of
10 I. PHROMMA ET AL.
= 16.202, p < 0.05). Households with smaller amounts of farmland appeared to
access the forest for hunting more frequently than those with larger farmlands.
Although most of the villagers harvested NTFPs for household consumption, some did
so for income generation purposes. In highly productive months (May-July), the price of
mushrooms can reach 300 Baht per kg, equivalent to a national minimum daily wage.
Under this scenario, some villagers could earn up to 500 Baht per day. Increased demands
for high value NTFPs, especially mushrooms, ant eggs, frogs and bamboo shoots, often
attract proﬁt-minded individuals from larger cities. Outsiders tend to rely on villagers as
a source of local knowledge, either for collecting or selling products to satisfy market
demand. This phenomenon can cause forest degradation if proper regulations such as
seasons, amounts and techniques are not followed carefully.
Approximately 42% of the respondents used protected forests as grazing sites for water
buﬀalos and cows. According to park rangers, some villagers used poles and wires to
prevent animals from wandering into PKNP, while others placed them inside the bound-
aries to keep animals from exiting. Understory saplings were thinned quickly because of
intensive grazing, especially in protected forests that were adjacent to agricultural lands
(Popradit et al., 2015). Although such activities are illegal inside the park, enforcement is
lax if done for household consumption. Since access for harvesting NTFPs is an integral
part of community life, eliminating this practice entirely would be a major disruption for
villagers. Restrictions and punishment often result in more conﬂict, not less, so compro-
mise should focus on subsistence practices to reduce conﬂict, while obtaining local
support in forest protection (Soliku & Schraml, 2018; Ward et al., 2018).
Forest patrol, especially on illegal logging and park encroachment remains restricted. In
2015, at least 21 individuals from the three villages were prosecuted for park encroach-
ments (Head of PKNP, personal communication, August 10, 2015). Over 100 lawsuits
relating to intrusion and illegal logging were recorded in PKNP during 2012–2015 (DNP,
2016). Nearly 30% were for encroachments, such as permanent grazing. Illegal logging
accounted for over 60% of lawsuits, including smuggling of Siamese rosewood (Dalbergia
cochin-chinensis Pierre) –an economic hardwood on the timber trade watch-list in
Thailand (as of March 12, 2013, the Environmental Investigation Agency listed on its
Management of overlapping land rights
Unclear demarcation of park boundaries can be a problem for PA management, especially
in tropical countries (Soliku & Schraml, 2018). Overlapping land rights often result in
competing demands, tenure insecurity, ambiguous policy and legal frameworks, and
multiple governance –the root of PA conﬂicts (Broegaard et al., 2017; Donia et al.,
2017; Patel et al., 2013; Soliku & Schraml, 2018). Some of the usufruct-right granted
properties assigned to villagers in PK overlap with the national park and national forest
reserve boundaries (Figure 2) so the land is managed by the DNP, RFD, and SAO of Khok
Muang and Nikhom Pattana sub-districts, respectively. Each of these governmental
entities have diﬀerent land use objectives and management goals: 1) DNP focuses on
forest and biodiversity protection; 2) RFD promotes sustainable use of forest resources;
and 3) SAO targets community development.
JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY 11
Forest protection inside the national park under DNP authority relies on restrictive
enforcement and guards to control access to natural resources. Visitors and villagers
entering the park are required to pass through check stations for screening purposes.
First time violators are issued a verbal warning, instead of ticket. Since most of the park
rangers are local residents, their family members and relatives may enter the park for
harvesting NTFPs without fear of rule violation. This practice helps reduce tensions
between the park authorities and villagers, while gaining community support for resource
Phu Kao National Forest Reserve is adjacent to PKNP, sometimes with overlapping
boundaries (Figure 2). Community forest management is one of the ways that RFD
promotes sustainability since it is less restrictive, and based on social norms and
customs. Villagers are allowed to gather NTFPs and sometimes graze their animals
inside the forest reserve. Areas managed in this way can be designated as a community
forest (CF), and if so, the usufruct rights will be granted to the community –allowing
villagers to have full access. Yet, timber and wildlife are protected by other laws e.g.,
Wildlife Preservation and Protection Act B.E. 2535 (1992) and Forest Act B.E. 2484
(1941). Nearly one million ha of CFs were registered by RFD’sduring2000–2017;
nationwide they cover approximately 1.8% of the country’s area or 5.7% of the total
forest area (RFD, 2018). From our survey, villagers identiﬁed a CF between Wangmon
and Chaimongkon (UTM 48Q 230075m E 1873595m N). This small patch of land,
about 20 ha, is a portion of the PK Forest Reserve that villagers often used for
collecting NTFPs. Despite not meeting the minimum RFD requirements (e.g., clear
forest demarcation, development of formal (written) rules and regulations, committee
and forest guards), villagers recognized it as a CF and applied customary rules to
control its access.
Community development and income generation are the main objectives for SAO,
funded mainly through farmland taxes at the rate of 32.5 Baht/ha/year. However, payment
signiﬁes ownership or tenancy, so villagers can possibly claim land ownership in the
future. To prevent this situation from occurring, the government abolished farmland taxes
in designated areas during 2008 (Department of Provincial Administration, 2008).
Although tax cancellation is a loss of revenue, SAO still promotes community develop-
ment and economic growth. Yet, some of its development plans (i.e., road expansion)
create land use conﬂicts with DNP. In 2015, SAO enlarged the road surface between the
three villages to make it easier for residents to transport agricultural products. According
to the 1998 Cabinet Solution, this activity fell under SAO authority. However, the road
expansion passed through PKNP which was protected by a diﬀerent set of laws. This
situation set up an inherent conﬂict between DNP and SAO without a proper solution.
Road construction sites were cleared overnight, without consent of park oﬃcers. As of
2018, this issue has not been resolved.
Overlapping land rights require multiple management authorities, so policy and legal
frameworks are inconsistent. Currently, relevant authorities and villagers at PK are work-
ing together through PA co-management. Yet, multiple governance often interferes with
eﬀective forest management because authorities are reluctant to yield power (MacDicken
et al., 2015; Patel et al., 2013; Soliku & Schraml, 2018). Ambiguous and overlapping
boundaries tend to complicate the situation. Deforestation and forest degradation can
be accelerated if agencies remain autonomous with respect to management plans,
12 I. PHROMMA ET AL.
especially under poor law enforcement. At present, conﬂicts among authorities are only
procedural, but they can escalate to severe tensions as seen other parts of the country
(Wittayapak & Baird, 2018).
Community participation in forest protection and perspectives on the 1998 cabinet
Although Thailand’snational parks were enacted by the central government, community
management is promoted, at least to some degree. Parks usually involve local communities in
protection eﬀorts, such as reforestation, forest ﬁre prevention, employment, awareness and
capacity building. Furthermore, some conservation initiatives can be observed nationwide,
including community forests, forest ordination, forest temples, and private land reforestation
(Phumee, Pagdee, & Kawasaki, 2017; Wittayapak & Baird, 2018). Community-based forest
management activities usually involve traditional practices, local beliefs, and social norms to
identify depreciative or illegal behavior. Normally, violators or free riders receive social
sanctions (e.g., gossip and/or being ostracized) rather than punishments by laws, rules or
regulations –the eminent power of all. In situations where local villagers are close-knit and
depend on forest resources for their livelihoods, law enforcement alone may not be suﬃcient
to regulate access and control illegal actions. Community-based forest management is an
alternative approach (Birch et al., 2014; Santika et al., 2017; Wittayapak & Baird, 2018).
Several community-based forest management activities were identiﬁed in PK. First,
forest ordination or “Boad Pha”in Thai was established in 2006 by the head of local
Buddhist monks in collaboration with DNP, RFD and SAO (Thammakorn, personal
communication, June 4, 2015). Yellow ribbons, a symbol of monkhood, were tied around
certain trees making them as sacred. The forest is protected by default since villagers will
never harvest those trees. From 2006–2014, at least 144 ha of forests in PK have received
full protection via forest ordination.
Traditions, including religious beliefs, are the emotional centerpiece of communities, hence
essential to local livelihoods. Violations are perceived as bad karma and perpetrators must
receive social punishment before any legal sanction occurs. Villagers can relate to manage-
ment activities that involve traditional and/or religious beliefs, so willingness to participate is
high. As a result, DNP continues to promote this type of collective action so they can obtain
community support. Local villagers are often involved in patrol, wildﬁre prevention and
extinguishment, and educational programs related to forest conservation, organized by
DNP, RFD, SAO and other stakeholders (Table 2). However, if these activities were not
initiated by community members, they would likely disappear.
Subsistence is the villager’s highest priority, not forest protection. However, during an
economic recession, forested areas are targeted by community members as possible solutions.
For example, the Asian economic crisis in 1997 sent a shock wave throughout Thai society.
Land use conﬂicts quickly arose after some laid-oﬀworkers returned to their villages to
practice agriculture and plunder the resources. Those who returned often claimed public
lands, including PAs, resulting in much tension and conﬂict (Wittayapak & Baird, 2018).
Socioeconomics underlie sustainable forest management practices. Our ﬁndings showed
that household income was signiﬁcantly associated with level of participation and type of
management activities perceived by villagers as necessary for forest conservation (Table 3).
Low income residents participated in forest management activities (i.e., forest ﬁre patrols and
JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY 13
workshops) more than those with higher incomes. Similarly, management activities suggested
by low income households involved possible revenue (i.e., permanent employment or contract
jobs). Villagers were concerned about household income, implying that if forest protection
activities could support their livelihoods, then participation was likely.
When asked about forest protection obstacles at PK, villagers mentioned a lack of ﬁnancial
incentives from the government, followed by low community participation, and ineﬀective
law enforcement (Table 2). Although poverty was a factor, many villagers felt it was not
a major problem. Impoverished villagers must make ends meet, legal or not. Illegal actions
often involved agricultural expansion into protected areas. However, participation in forest
protection activities might produce additional income, at least for some individuals.
Table 2. Villager participation in PK forest protection and responses on 1998 cabinet solution.
Responses (n = 348)
1. Involved in forest conservation activities e.g., reforestation, tree ordination and ﬁrebreak
construction organized by PKNP, RFD, SAO and/or outside agencies
1.1) Yes 251 72.1
1.2) No 97 27.9
2. Involved in forest ﬁre patrol and extinguishment
2.1) Yes 167 48.0
2.2) No 181 52.0
3. Attended in forest conservation workshops organized by PKNP and/or other governmental
3.1) Yes 134 38.5
3.2) No 214 61.5
4. Factors hindering eﬀective forest protection listed by villagers
4.1) Low community participation 63 18.1
4.2) Community poverty 11 3.2
4.3) Limited ﬁnancial support from the government 218 62.6
4.4) Ineﬀective law enforcement 56 16.1
5. Agencies needed to involve in forest conservation
5.1) RFD and DNP 260 74.7
5.2) Police Department 2 0.6
5.3) District Administration 5 1.4
5.4) Sub-district Administrative Oﬃce 6 1.7
5.5) Community leaders 30 8.6
5.6) Villagers 45 12.9
6. Suggested activities for villagers to participate in forest protection
6.1) Reforestation projects 76 21.8
6.2) Regular park-community meetings so ideas & feedbacks can be shared. 94 27.0
6.3) Community forest with support from the DNP&RFD 55 15.8
6.4) Permanent or contract jobs at PKNP e.g., local tour guide, forest guard, and worker at
a tree nursery
7. Villager response on park demarcation
7.1) Clear demarcation 143 41.1
7.2) Unclear demarcation 205 58.9
8. Villager’s willingness to participate in ecotourism and forest protection
8.1) Yes 217 62.4
8.2) No 131 37.6
9. Villager response on a local tour-guide training project
9.1) Agreed 264 75.9
9.2) Disagreed 18 5.2
14 I. PHROMMA ET AL.
Villagers lamented that only a small number of management projects were implemen-
ted at PK as compared to other, well-known parks. Activities included basic infrastructure
for ecotourism (e.g., nature trails and visitor information centers). When villagers were
asked about ecotourism, most of their responses were positive (Table 2). These activities
are seen as an alternative source of income, diﬀerent from agricultural revenue. Moreover,
job opportunities such as park rangers, local tour guides, forest guards and nursery
Table 3. Household socioeconomic conditions relating to beneﬁt distribution and participation in forest
Household socioeconomic conditions Wildlife hunting (e.g., reptiles, ant eggs and frogs)
1) Amounts of farmland Yes No Total
(p-value) Degree of association (Cramer’s V)*
●1–50 Rai (1 Rai = 0.16 ha) 151 147 298 16.202 (0.000) 0.216
●> 50 Rai 10 40 50
Total 161 187 348
Participation in forest conservation
Household socioeconomic conditions Villager response on park demarcation
1) Occupation Clear Unclear Total
(p-value) Degree of association (Cramer’sV)
●Farmer 115 187 302 12.051 (0.017) 0.186
●Laborer 21 13 34
●Merchant 4 2 6
●Unemployed 3 1 4
●Governmental oﬃcial 0 2 2
Total 143 205 348
Villagers involved in forest ﬁre patrol and extinguishment
2) Income level Yes No Total
(p-value) Degree of association (Cramer’sV)
●<100,000 Baht/year 38 9 47 23.511 (0.000) 0.260
●100,000–150,000 Baht/year 129 172 301
Total 167 181 348
Attended in forest conservation workshops organized by PKNP and/or other
●<100,000 Baht/year 35 12 47 29.679 (0.000) 0.292
●100,000–150,000 Baht/year 99 202 301
Total 134 214 348
Suggested activities for villagers to participate in forest protection**
RF RM CF PC TC
(p-value) Degree of association (Cramer’sV)
●<100,000 Baht/year 8 5 2 32 47 27.036 (0.000) 0.279
●100,000–150,000 Baht/year 68 89 53 91 301
Total 76 94 55 123 348
Villager response on park demarcation
Clear Unclear Total
(p-value) Degree of association (Cramer’sV)
●<100,000 Baht/year 37 10 47 31.789 (0.000) 0.302
●100,000–150,000 Baht/year 106 195 301
Total 143 205 348
Note: *Cramer’s V values vary between 0–1 when 0 indicates the weakest, while 1 indicates the strongest association.
** Villager responses on suggested activities, including: RF = Reforestation projects, RM = Regular park-community
meetings, CF = Community forest with support from the DNP&RFD and PC = Permanent or contract jobs at PKNP.
Meanwhile TC = total counts
JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY 15
workers, were suggested by 35% of the respondents. Park aﬃliation would provide
a consistent source of income for villagers, perhaps requiring less time and eﬀort than
agriculture. Others thoughts that working at PKNP was a source of pride that might
produce higher self-esteem and respect.
Some suggestions included regular park-community meetings, reforestation projects,
and establishing a CF with support from DNP, RFD and other agencies. Many villagers
wanted government oﬃcials to hear their concerns with livelihoods, economics, and local
issues. Meetings with the park or government agencies would provide opportunities for
villagers to speak –one way to reduce two-way tensions. Although establishing a CF was
not a priority, park oﬃcers and village leaders expressed some optimism that it could be
a good alternative for forest protection. Clearly designated CFs can improve accessibility
and increase responsibility, presumably reducing some depreciative behavior in the park.
CFs can also function as a buﬀer between villagers and park authorities, thus ensuring
Designation of community use areas at PKNP that originated from the 1998 Cabinet
Solution was unclear because boundary lines overlap between the park and farmlands –
a primary source of conﬂict (Patel et al., 2013; Soliku & Schraml, 2018). At several
locations, dirt roads and small gullies were used for demarcation purposes. Fence con-
struction is not a viable option. Park signs include messages such as “park area”,“no
hunting and gathering zone”,“be alert for wildlife”or “forest is life, help protect it”to help
people diﬀerentiate between zones. Moreover, PKNP oﬃcials have clariﬁed park bound-
aries on several occasions, including the latest attempt in 2014. Yet most of the villagers
(about 60%) still believe that the lines are ambiguous and unrecognizable.
One should expect to ﬁnd agricultural expansion and/or other illegal land use activities
to occur beyond the permitted zones and we did. A signiﬁcant association was found
between household occupation and perception of boundary lines. Farmers said that the
boundaries were unclear, while most people who worked outside of agriculture thought
that park demarcation was reasonable (Table 3). Although it is diﬃcult to conclude that
agricultural expansion was caused by unclear boundaries, forest ﬁres
every year in PK. Forest loss is the ﬁnal outcome. The park is working on oﬃcial records,
as villagers continue farming.
Declaration of protected areas is one of the most eﬀective, in-situ mechanisms for natural
resource conservation (Bruggeman et al., 2018; Donia et al., 2017; Miranda et al., 2016)
since it eliminates direct use activities, thus minimizing human disturbances. However,
implementation must address community settlement, especially at sites where local people
depend on natural resources for their livelihoods –the forest-farm interface. Land use
conﬂict is inevitable and government reaction diﬀers signiﬁcantly, depending on the
country. For example, land use conﬂicts between national parks and local communities
in Thailand are profound. The 1998 Cabinet Solution designated areas for community use
by granting usufruct rights, but the procedure contains many loopholes.
PKNP’sﬁre control station recorded 142 forest ﬁres occurred during 2010–2017, average 17 time
yearly, damaged a total of 336.32 ha of forest area.
16 I. PHROMMA ET AL.
Agriculture remains the key land use activity near the boundaries of PKNP, 20 years
after the Cabinet Solution in 1998. Farming changed from subsistence-based to market-
driven practices, featuring cash crops, especially cassava plantations. During 2013–2015,
agricultural areas increased substantially, almost doubling the size of farmlands in 2013 or
at an average annual rate of 30%. At least 13.1% of farms expanded into protected forests,
coupled with illegal cultivation of some prohibited species –Para rubber trees.
Community lifestyles shifted after the park was established. Present day agriculture is
largely dependent upon machines, chemicals, and hired labor to maximize productivity
and proﬁts. At the same time, farmers encourage their children to pursue higher school in
exchange for a ‘better life’elsewhere –anything but agriculture. Farming is a diﬃcult,
insecure and less prestigious job that often makes young people want to move away and
do something else for a living. Subsequently, farmers become more dependent on cash
income due to socioeconomic changes produced by internal pressures and the eﬀects of
globalization. Nearby forests serve as alternative resources for household consumption
and additional income generation, similar to a free insurance policy.
Exploitation and deforestation are foregone conclusions. Granting usufruct rights to
communities may reduce land use conﬂicts in the short-term, but fail to address agricul-
tural encroachment and other illegal activities in PAs. Park oﬃcials have good intentions
to protect the forest, including ﬂexible law enforcement options to meet cultural demands.
Community participation is encouraged through various activities, especially those aimed
at building awareness, capacity, and acceptability. Luckily, the forest-farm interface at Phu
Kao did not result in severe land use conﬂict, at least during the study period. The same
result cannot be guaranteed in the future since conﬂict is dynamic. We only captured one
snapshot in time. Nonetheless, key sources of impairment persist, especially unclear
demarcation, overlapping land rights and tenure insecurity, competing demands, multiple
levels of governance, and ambiguous legal policies and frameworks. Highlighting this list
is community dynamics, especially economics, the determinant of people-forest
Sustainability, if it exists on the local level, must balance law enforcement, community
livelihoods, and participation. Law enforcement is the dominant power to control access
and use, while traditions function as a social boundary. Although invisible, this form of
peer pressure diﬀerentiates between appropriate and inappropriate actions by using
rewards and punishments. In a sense, villagers act as ‘real time’monitors of their local
resources. The community itself recognizes problems and needs to be involved with forest
conservation eﬀorts, thus inﬂuencing the success or failure of planning models (Pagdee,
Kim, & Daugherty, 2006).
Socioeconomic development and globalization tend to force villagers into a market-
based economy, away from subsistence living. Customs, values, and social norms that
once served as the foundation for sustainable forestry cannot guarantee the same outcome
in the future. Eﬀective forest management requires an interdisciplinary approach that
includes ecological, economic, and managerial measures of success. Some practical impli-
cations include: better collaboration between villagers and government authorities, regular
forest patrols, money-making ideas that reduce dependence on agricultural income, and
JOURNAL OF SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY 17
We are grateful to the Research Group on Problem Soils in Northeast Thailand and Graduate
School, Khon Kaen University for ﬁnancial support. We also thank the Integrated Water Resource
Management Research and Development Center in Northeast Thailand for useful insights. Most
importantly, this project would not be possible without the collaboration and support from Phu
Kao –Phu Phan Kham National Park, all community leaders and villagers at Dongbak, Wangmon
and Chaimongkon. Last but not least, we acknowledge Dr. Mark Morgan from the University of
Missouri who helped edit and improve the manuscript.
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