Conserving mangroves in Ao Baan Don , Thailand © SSereepaowong , 2009
This project aimed to rehabilitate and protect local coastal resources. It set a target of a 20% increase in mangrove cover in its focal area, to be achieved in an integrated manner at village, district and provincial levels.
Ban Don Bay is an integrated marine and coastal ecosystem on the southern Gulf of Thailand, extending about 120 km. Once rated one of the most biodiverse areas in the Gulf of Thailand, with habitats such as mangroves, seagrass beds and coral reefs, it has now been badly degraded by aquaculture, destructive fishing, pollution, conflict among resource users and a lack of intersectoral cooperation. The bay was designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance in 2000.
The Ban Don Bay Conservation Network was established 30 years ago by local people who were experiencing the negative impacts of environmental degradation and wanted to take collective action to address it. The Network has financed its conservation activities mainly with donations from community members, and has also cooperated with NGOs and other development projects.
About half of the 2,890 households in the project area, most of whom earn their living from small-scale fishing or depend on other coastal resources for their livelihoods.
Members of community-based organisations and their leaders developed technical and managerial skills. A number of community members were elected as heads of sub-district administrative organizations. These organizations provided additional co-financing to support project activities.
Community organizations demarcated and managed a conservation zone in the sub-districts of Khao Than and Tha Chang.
Participating sub-district administrative organizations updated their data and other information on local socio-economic indicators for future reference and use by officials and households in the project area.
The project brought together several national partners and local government authorities to participate in strengthening conservation efforts, launched community-based research on coastal resource conservation and ecotourism, and promoted sustainable livelihood activities.
Competition among community groups delayed funding and complicated financial arrangements. The project committee resolved this issue by setting up a strict auditing system.
Conflict between communities and private businesses in Khlong Chanark sub-district made demarcation of a conservation zone there difficult. The network coordinated with relevant government agencies, local administrative organizations and NGOs to resolve this conflict.
A media spot on the Ban Don Bay Network was featured by the local newspaper, radio station and television network. This focused on a community meeting with the governor of Surat Thani to express local people’s gratitude for a new patrol boat and sets of network surveillance equipment donated by the province.
A website, www.tnewsnetwork.com, featured a “Public Forum on Ban Don Bay Coastal Resources Management” on 28 July 2009. Another website, www.suratnews.com, featured visits to the project area by NGOs and a group of Japanese students on 1 September 2009.
With coastal and marine ecosystems better protected and more productive, members of the Network feel confident they can set up a rotating fund to finance livelihood activities and a savings group to assist members. The two funds will be managed by network members and are expected to be self-financing.
Currently the Network is reaching out to younger people to promote a more harmonious and collaborative, as opposed to adversarial, approach to conservation.
Ban Don Bay, Surat Thani, Thailand
1st May 2009 to 30th Nov 2010
Community-based organisations made cash and in-kind contributions worth US$1,200 and US$14,720 respectively. Local administrative organizations made in-kind contributions valued at US$300 in total. The Surat Thani Provincial Public Health Office contributed US$12,600 in cash, and the Office of the Governor of Surat Thani contributed a patrol boat and surveillance equipment worth US$16,667.
Ms Nipa Salpradi
Ban Don Bay Conservation Network
180/3 Moo 1, Pathumphorn Road,
Surat Thani 84000, Thailand
Tel: +66 89 4738933