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By MAP Intern: Maria Savage & Photography: Jon Baines
The MAP Asia staff packed their bags on July 11th, 2016 and took a visit to Nai Nang Village, Krabi province, Thailand with high hopes for a promising partnership. In 2015 the Marriott Hotel in Thailand teamed up with MAP to undertake a mangrove restoration site assessment in Phang Nga province to ensure successful mangrove planting by Phuket Marriott staff as part of their mangrove Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program through IUCN Thailand. IUCN had invited MAP to visit the Hin Laad mangrove restoration site to ensure the site was effective in regeneration. Since then, the Marriott has raised interest in MAP’s work with the Nai Nang Apiculture group selling honey as an alternative livelihood while protecting and restoring mangroves in their village.
Left to right: Intern, Photographer, Coordinator, Project Manager
The meeting was held in close proximity to the bee boxes that the Nai Nang Villagers have built with the support of wood working tools provided by the Mangrove Action Project. The project was funded under Global Nature Fund of Germany and was called “Mangrove Restoration and Reforestation in Asia, a Project for Knowledge Exchange and Action to Protect Climate change, Forest and Biodiversity” as an effort to expand on the few families experimenting with bee keeping in the community. MAP saw the expansion as a gateway to alternative livelihoods for the Nai Nang Village community members. Here is the catch, when villages agree to produce honey, they are no longer allowed to use pesticides on their crops. This is a win-win for all members. The bees can flourish without toxins and chemicals present while the villagers expel the added cost of poisonous products. Some members note a decrease in the number of pests found on their crops and they credit the busy bees!
Apiculture workshops and value-add honey product training seminars were held for the people to produce hand soap, shampoo and conditioner to build capacity and market village produced products. The hives were incredibly successful, and the community sold 276 bottles of honey in 2015! A village Conservation Fund was established with 10% of all honey and honey product sales.
This golden honey is produced as part of the mangrove conservation efforts, it was sure to spark the interest of responsible fair-trade businesses. That’s where Mr. Sean Panton, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Representative for the Marriott Hotel chain Thailand and Ms. Kanokwan Homchaaim (Nok), Marriot Thailand’s Field Coordinator for IUCN come into the picture.
The meeting was planned to establish a partnership between the Nai Nang Village Apiculture Group and the Marriott Hotel CSR program. Sean and Nok recognized the many benefits of conservation group’s honey, and they are sure the customers of the Marriott would agree. The idea is to showcase the honey on the hotel’s breakfast buffets with background information about where it is produced and with details about the Nai Nang Apiculture Group. This marketing strategy will appeal to conscience of people who are looking to support local communities and local conservation efforts.
Exposing the hive
We were lucky enough to visit the beehives and see first-hand the honeycomb extraction. The workers looked more like soldiers; dressed head to toe in a camouflage suit and toped with a veil hat. They were well prepared for the vast number of protective bees working on the hive. We were even given a taste of the fresh honey combs direct from the hive. I admit, I have an inexhaustible sweet tooth and am no stranger to toast and honey, but this honey was a real treat. I haven’t tasted anything quite like it! It was fruity and flowerily all at once. Needless to say, I showed my support and bought a bottle.
Sean (in black) and Nok (in white) sampling the honey
I am fortunate to have witnessed a partnership that secures the future for this hard working community. Nai Nang Honey should be shared with more people, and they have already begun to do so. In March 2016 the experienced members of Ban Nai Nang offered guidance in an apiculture workshop for Ban Ta-Sanook in Phang Nga province. This opens doors of opportunity for many families and continued mangrove conservation. Marriott Hotel has made a conscientious decision in supporting conservation related supplementary livelihoods while sharing the benefits of this golden treat.
A visitor from one of MAP’s funders, Synchronicity Earth, based in London UK, came to Thailand to see and learn first-hand about mangrove restoration!
From March 29th to 31st MAP Asia had the great pleasure to receive Jim Pettiward, communications strategist, at Synchronicity Earth a funder and collaborator of MAP since 2014. This is the first time MAP Asia has received a visitor from Synchronicity Earth. “It’s much more interesting and valuable to see and experience projects on the ground rather than just read reports, if you want to really understand the issues” stated Jim.
MAP Asia staff had the occasion to show Jim Pettiward around six mangrove restoration sites utilizing the Community-based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR) method within the provinces of Krabi and Phang Nga, Southern Thailand. The local community representatives at different sites were available allowing us to exchange information and ask questions directly to the villagers concerned with the mangrove restoration projects.
On the first evening after welcoming Jim to Krabi Town with a taste of the delicious Thai food, a powerpoint summary presentation was given on the 4 year “Mangrove Restoration and Reforestation in Asia, a Project for Knowledge Exchange and Action to Reduce Climate Change, and Protect Forest Biodiversity” project. This regional project was administered by the Global Nature Fund (GNF) of Germany and MAP’s projects were co-funded by Synchronicity Earth.
On the second day, we visited four of MAP’s mangrove restoration sites in Krabi Province: one site at Ban Lang Da started in 2009 and three other sites on Klang Island.
The Klong Lu homestay, a GNF project partner, was used as our base on the island and a longtail boat driven by the owner, Bang Bao and his 10 year-old son transported us from the mainland and toured us through the mangroves on route to the family bungalow operation. While motoring along the Krabi River we were welcomed by a playful pod of Indo Pacific hump-backed dolphins which did a great job of putting on a show for Jim’s birthday! The Klong Lu homestay is involved in eco-tourism and with MAP’s support, has developed a short interpretative mangrove nature trail around the mangrove restoration site which was initiated just 6 month ago. The small loop walkway will be a great tool to educate visitors of the Klong Lu Homestay, daytrip visitors to the island, along with school kids from the local area.
Jim Pettiward (green shirt) and MAP staff on the longtail boat to Klang Island
The final day, was highlighted by a visit to the Nai Nang’s apiculture group, in Krabi Province. This community has been successfully producing honey partly from mangrove flowers and are, now, also creating value added products such as honey hand soap, shampoo and conditioner with the support of MAP. During our time there, community conservation leaders showed us how they harvest the honey from the hand-made bee boxes. We even got a taste of the freshly collected honey, YUMMY!
Freshly harvested honey tasting at Nai Nang village
After wild honey tasting we headed north to the restoration site in Ta-Sanook village, Phang Nga province where the village chief and some members of the conservation group showed us the ongoing construction of their new mangrove nature trail which plans to be completed by May 2016. It will allow local school kids to learn about mangrove ecosystems first-hand without getting their feet wet.
Visiting Ta-Sanook CBEMR restoration site with the village chief and community leaders
The field trip was a great way to showcase some of MAP’s mangrove restoration project with full involvement of local communities who are pursuing supplementary livelihoods supported by the project. It also allowed us all to exchange ideas and get valuable advice and impressions from Jim Pettiward of Synchronicity Earth and key community leaders.
By Manon Whittaker, MAP Asia Intern.
WHEN THE STUDENTS BECOME THE TEACHERS: Sweet golden honey helps communities and mangroves!
The successful honey project which started in Nai Nang, in Krabi province in Thailand has now expanded to Ta-Sanook, Phang-Nga province.
Read this inspiring story about mangrove restoration, livelihoods and knowledge transfer between communities!
How it started
The project started several years ago in Nai Nang when MAP implemented a mangrove restoration site with the support of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) funding and through Global Nature Fund’s administered project entitled “Mangrove Restoration and Reforestation in Asia, a Project for Knowledge Exchange and Action to Protect Climate change, Forest and Biodiversity”. In order to secure the long-term protection of the restoration efforts MAP decided to help the community develop their apiculture activity as an alternative livelihood. The wonderful part is that honey is partly produced from mangrove flowers . Nai Nang villagers had already been involved in apiculture for some time but MAP helped provide material, technical training, develop labels, marketing and equipment support to take this project to the next level. Today, the village has more than 200 beehives and produced 270 kilos of honey last year.
Honey partly produced from mangrove flowers by Nai-Nang village
Passing on the torch
At the beginning of this year, another MAP restoration site, funded by DAIMLER AG’s, the “Mangrove Conservation in Asia” project also managed by GNF in Ta-Sanook village in Phang-Nga showed keen interest to develop apiculture as an alternative livelihood. Ta-Sanook village is a relatively close to Nai-Nang village, hence it became evident that something exciting could begin here. The knowledge gathered by locals from Nai-Nang village from several years of producing honey products could be shared directly to Ta-Sanook villagers. And this is what is currently taking place.
Early March 2016, 16 villagers from Ta-Sanook undertook a day long training under the supervision of the experienced leaders from Nai-Nang village. They demonstrated bee-keeping technics, shared beehive construction methods and gave important recommendations for producing honey. In addition, a second training session has been planned for the women of Nai Nang to teach their sisters at Ta Sanook the craft of making value added products such as shampoo, conditioner and hand soap.
This form of knowledge transfer is extremely thrilling and promising for community empowerment in the future.
Knowledge transfer between Nai-Nang and Ta-Sanook villagers
The story doesn’t end here. Ta-Sanook is only at the beginning of the journey. The next step is building the wooden bee-boxes so that wild bees (Apis Cerena) can colonize. The wood working tools, will be provided by MAP throughout the project, however, the community has been encouraged to use recycled wood for the construction of the hives because the bees only require a dry clean home, nothing fancy. The aim is that the twinned communities are able to support each other in their apiculture enterprise.
As part of the project, the village is also constructing a 70 m Mangrove Interpretative Nature Trail which will be a great asset for the Environmental Education program which will take place in the local school.
So these projects are allowing the transfer of local knowledge between communities but also to future generations, not bad yeah?!
On 9 October, 2015 11 persons including 5 International volunteers from Project Abroad-Thailand on improving the hydrology at our new Community Based Ecological Mangrove Restoration(CBEMR) site at Klong Lu area, village no. 3, Klong Prasong District in Krabi province. The site is actually located on an island, Koh Klang, in the Krabi River Estuary where MAP’s EPIC sites are located. The work involved digging channels into the high middle area of the pond after a backhoe had excavated several channels to re-connect the abandon shrimp pond to the natural water canal.
The pond is owned by a family who also running a Klong Lu Homestay in the village. MAP staff have been staying at the homestay since last year during field work for our EPIC CBEMR sites. The owner was interested in joining the project on Mangrove Conservation and Restoration so we are grateful to be working with them at this new site. This restoration site will be also be developed as a mangrove learning center with a short loop mangrove nature trail for the non-formal students and homestay guests who visit Klong Lu.
On Friday the 5th of June was World Environment Day, and to celebrate MAP, with the help of our sponsors Global Nature Fund (GNF), Earth Synchronicity and Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation (BMZ), participated in a large half-day environmental event for grade 7-9 students in Krabi town along with other groups such as RAKS Thai and government agencies. The event was hosted by the Krabi Provincial Administrative Organization and was attended by over 2000 students. Presented in MAP’s booth were large banners depicting mangrove species, benefits of mangroves, food webs and knowledge pertaining to restoration and conservation. To raise awareness amongst the students on what MAP does for the community and environment staff conducted fun and educational, question and answer games complete with prizes.
Eager students signing up for MAPs interactive Q&A game.
Through fun and interactive educational games, khun Bobby, managed to reach a large audience of students who were excited to learn about mangrove conservation and restoration.
With the help of MAP staff member, khun Chay, students were able to find the answers to questions by using the banners, their own personal experiences and analytical skills.
A student receiving a prize for the Q&A game, prizes included items such as pencils, colored pencils, crayons, coloring books, MAP t-shirts and candy.
MAP Staff Member, Ning, shows Nai Nang Collective’s Honey Products sold by community members at MAP’s booth. The honey is sustainably collected, all natural and helps support mangrove conservation and villager livelihoods in Nai Nang Village.The bee keeping group, Nai Nang Honey Collective, gathers its honey from one of MAPS Community Based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR) sites which is sponsored by the Global Nature Fund (GNF).
Students proudly display some of the logos of MAP donors
Educational events such as these provide an excellent opportunity for students to get out of the class room and experience environmental conservation firsthand from organizations on the front lines. Through our fun and interactive game MAP was able to inspire students to participate and learn. MAPs dedicated staff are sure to have left a lasting impression on the students participating that day. The first step to action is education, and reaching impressionable minds at a young age is paramount in constructing a relationship between future influential community members and environmental conservation.
May 19th, 20th and 21st MAP worked with Tha Sa Nook villagers under the Global Nature Fund (GNF) project in Phang Nga Province.
The objectives are to help improve the hydrology of the abandoned shrimp pond using CBEMR methods and techniques by working with the villagers to improve the land conditions for mangrove to regnerate. When the hydrology is improved adequately mangrove volunteers will start to seed and repopulate the pond. By repopulating the abandoned shrimp farm with mangroves we can create more habitat for fish, improving the catch of local village fishermen and rebuild the ecosystem.
MAP staff Khun Chay discussing hydrology strategy with local village workers
MAP Staff member, Ning, educates the villagers who will work on the project about how improving the hydrology of the pond will lead to mangrove regeneration.
Villagers and MAP intern work on creating a channel to help the water drain properly from the abandoned shrimp pond.
Key Message: A common problem with restoring many abandoned shrimp ponds is the bottom is often low, so poorly drained, remaining wet too long which is a stress for mangrove seedlings. Mangroves prefer to be dry (no standing water) for approximately two-thirds of the time which facilitates good oxygen exchange. The easiest way to partly overcome this problem is to ensure the tidal connection(s) to the pond are wide enough so water can enter and exist at a similar rate to the natural mangrove outside the pond. Smaller hand dug channels, imitating tidal creeks, can help water drain from the site as the bottoms are flat, while the natural mangrove has rolling elevations to facilitate drainage.
Involving the local community is extremely important in the longevity and sustainability of the project. When the local people have a stake in the quality of the ecosystem they will take personal initiative and responsibility for its conservation and restoration. Through awareness building we can help the local people develop conservation techniques and skills to better help them restore and protect their mangrove.
World Earth Day: Environmental Education and Community Development Camp, Bang Kang Khao School
In celebration of World Earth Day on the 22nd of April 2015, MAP Asia held a two and a half day environmental education and community development camp in Bang Kang Kao community, Trang province one of the GNF (Global Nature Fund) sites between the 20th and 22nd of April. This camp involved around 20 facilitators including staff from MAP, members of the community, and student volunteers from Surat Thani Rajabhat University and staff from the Bang Kang Kao School.
The objective of this camp was two fold; provide the Bang Kang Khao School with mangrove awareness display exhibits and expand the environmental education knowledge of of 21 students in years four and five, with a focus on mangrove ecosystems. The main learning goal was for for students to understand the benefits that mangroves provide by learning from facilitator experts and local community people who have direct first-hand experience.
The first day started with some ‘ice-breaker’ activities as the group got to know each other. Soon, the group was split in to two and the first tasks started…..
One group was sent to paint the shower rooms to give them an environmental conservation theme….
Surat Thani Rajaphat University students started to build the foundations for a new environmental exhibition centre on the school grounds.
some discussions in the evening and a nights rest, the next days started with some exercises to wake everyone up…..
The group was then split into five teams where there would learn about different topics with local experts. The topics included: Waste Management, Mangrove Species, The Ecological Mangrove Restoration technique, Mangrove Fauna, Herb Harvesting from Mangroves……
Groups were then given some time to prepare a performance which they would give to everyone to try and teach them what they had learnt.
The next day was the closing ceremony where everyone who took part was given a certificate, presented to them by the Chief Primary Education Officer of Trang…..
The Chief Primary Education Officer, alongside MAP-Asia staff, was then able to carry out the official opening of the exhibition centre……
Finally, school children and university students took part in some practical conservation work as they a planted a few mangrove propagules in the local EMR site.
Key Message: Overall, it is hoped that these important mangrove conservation and environmental messages are able to reach the younger generation as they become the major force in conservation and restoration of mangroves in their own community in the future. The three days have been a truly memorable experience with a brilliant range of activities which hopefully can be repeated in the future.
GNF Project helps communities learn to make products from honey
On April 8th and 9th, 2015, 3 MAP-Asia staff co-organised a workshop under the Global Nature Fund (GNF) project support with 5 trainers from the “Office of Extension and Training on Economic Based on Insect-derived Products of Chumphon Province” (ศูนย์ส่งเสริมเทคโนโลยีการเกษตรด้านแมลงเศรษฐกิจ จังหวัดชุมพร), a branch of the Department of Agricultural Extension of Thailand. The workshop focused on products made with honey and bee wax and trained about 35 participants of the bee-raising livelihood group of Ban Nai Nang, Krabi province. The training workshop was held through the courtesy of one of the members of the Bee Keeping Livelihood group who kindly provided her home as a venue for the meeting.
The objectives of the 1.5-day workshop were to show participants how to make shampoo, conditioner, soap bar, body liquid soap, and medicinal balms that used natural plants mixed with honey or bee wax. Participants made the products themselves during the training session. Ultimately, the aim of the workshop was to help the community economically by allowing them to save on household expenditure and/or have an additional source of income by making their own products.
Community members were shown how to make the products by actually producing them. Here, they were busy helping in the cooking phase which involved a lot of stirring.
One of the workshop stations was on packaging the products from the previous day…
… proudly displaying the products produced which were distributed to the participants for their personal use.
And surprise! Surprise! The governor of the Province of Krabi payed a visit! He commented that in the future all the communities of Krabi that have a bee group should come together to exchange their experience and knowledge on bee raising and how to make a livelihood from honey and wax products.
Bung Tee, chief of the bee raising group and member of the conservation group, said that they started the bee raising group in their community because they realised the benefit of bees as pollinators for mangroves. They wanted to restore the mangrove in Ban Nai Nang and to generate additional income from selling honey. The bee raising group originated with a few members from the conservation group but now it has grown to 39 members with 187 beehives in Ban Nai Nang.
In addition, Bung Harim, another member of the bee raising group and conservation group, noticed that the more bees in his rice paddy, the less pests he had. He said that he thinks that it’s the bees that help keep the pests away and pollinate the rice. The quality of his rice has improved and he does not need to spend money on pesticides.
GNF project holds a workshop and study tour in Trang
On February 4th-5th, 2015, MAP and the Raks Thai Foundation(Care Thailand) gathered 20 community members from four villages that take part in the GNF project, namely Ban Bang Kang Kao and Ban Laem Makham in Trang province, Ban Nai Nang in Krabi province, and Ban Ta Sa Nook in Phang Nga province.
The objective of the workshop and study tour was to discuss livelihoods and exchange experiences on the practice of CBEMR.
This was the first time for all communities under the “Mangrove Restoration and Reforestation in Asia, a Project for Knowledge Exchange and Action to Reduce Climate Change, and Protect Forest Biodiversity” that is supported by Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Germany, Foundation Ursula Merz, Global Nature Fund and Synchronicity Earth to come together and share experience. This idea came from the project participants themselves and MAP staff facilitated by organising this two-day workshop and field study trip.
exchanged about their respective experiences on setting up livelihood groups (examples: fish raising group, apiculture group, soap making group) and about the types of benefits and drawbacks these groups provided. They highlighted how livelihood groups were a source of additional income and created a sense of unity among the group members. Often, however, group members lacked the skills to market their products. A solution mentioned to alleviate this situation was to get guidance from a relevant NGO.
In the afternoon, everyone went out in the field to visit the CBEMR restoration sites in Bang Kang Kao village and in Laem Makham village. On this photo, the small nursery in on of the sites of Bang Kang Kao village is visible in the background.
Community members in charge of the sites were particularly eager on discussing the rehabilitation process and exchanging ideas on how to improve the hydrology of certain areas. A contact person from Laem Ma Kham highlighted how despite the particularly slow tree regeneration in his site (a former rice paddle field), the hydrological restoration had already brought back crabs and fish that the community had started harvesting again.
MAP facilitators taught the CBEMR practitionners from the communities how to perform time lapse photos to monitor restoration progress on the sites.
In the morning, everyone departed for a half-day visit of the mangrove and sea grass restoration site organised by BorHin farm stay further illustrated how connections could be made between sustainable livelihoods, the wise use and management of natural resources and biodiversity conservation. MAP facilitators of this event were Mr. Chanaphat Suntonkitjaporn and Mr. Rueangborom Petcharat.
The manager of BorHin farm stay explains how seagrass is restored with the help of voluntary tourists planting seedlings at low tide.
It was interesting to note how the experience from setting up the apiculture group by the community members in Nai Nang village was particularly successfull at making obvious the connection between the sustainable management of the mangrove and the benefits people could derive from it for their livelihoods. Nai Nang community members highlighted how restoring the mangrove would benefit them by improving their harvest of honey, but also, reciprocally, how their activity of raising bees was beneficial for the restoration of the mangrove since it supported plant pollination. This experience was appealing to the other communities who expressed their interest in also setting apiculture groups in their villages.
A study tour was organized by MAP from 9-13 December 2014. It was one of activities of the two year McKnight Foundation supported project entitled: Capacity Strengthening for Local Community Communities in Coastal and Tonle Sap Region to Adapt to the Impacts of Climate Change on Food Security. This trip was the first time for PMCR staff to learn and exchange experiences together with community representatives from project sites in Cambodia in Thailand.
Visiting a local krajood weaving group
The group consisted of 6 community and government representatives from Cambodia, one representative from Green Skills, an NGO based in Western Australia, Map Asia staff and one translator, who made overcoming the language barrier between Thai and Khmer easy.
On the wetlands boardwalk
After the introduction at MAP Asia’s office in Trang, the group had the opportunity to visit several places in various provinces of Thailand.
These included: Thalay-Noi wetlands in Phattalung province, where the participants met Non-hunting area officers, took part in a boat tour and visited a local reed weaving group;
MAPs CBEMR sites in Ban Kan Khao, Trang province and rehabilitated CBEMR sites and bamboo fence at Koh Klang village in Krabi province.
Visiting the bamboo fence which successfully stops costal erosion
The group also had the chance to tour the mangrove forest in Klong Prasong sub-district by long tail boat. They learnt plenty of information about the mangrove forest and its history.
On the last day, the wrap up session was held in the Mangrove Management Unit in Krabi town. The participants reflected on the past days and shared what they had learnt and how they will apply their experience to their communities in Cambodia.
In the mangrove
Thanks to everyone for making the study tour a success!