by Mykel Murphy, volunteer
January 30, 2018
This morning, I had the opportunity to take a trip to Chiang Dao with Luca (volunteer) and Dr. Michael Shafer. We met with Adrian Pieper who has been working on a forest restoration project in Mae Ngat for nearly a decade.
Over the past several years, he’s managed to replant hundreds of trees back into an area of the village that had once been barren. Because of this, different keystone species have returned such as the many birds that once belonged to the high canopies.
It was really extraordinary to see the stark contrast between the vast rice fields we passed through in the village to arrive at this dense thicket full of vegetation and flowing streams of water.
Piedersson came up with the self-funded project to help demonstrate the many benefits that come with conserving the forests.
He explained that taking care of the forest helps sequester carbon from the atmosphere which in turn helps eliminate climate change, it restores biodiversity in the environment – as new species are reintroduced into the ecosystem, and most importantly, his project helps demonstrate that a forest that satisfies those two requirements is commercially viable.
With a forest, there is the potential for growing crops that can’t normally be grown such as peppercorn and different types of fruit – which there is definitely a market for in the local villages.
Seeing the great success the restoration project has had will incentivize the farmers to start rethinking their harvesting and planting methods!