On Tuesday 8th October Prem Grade 10 Environmental Systems and Societies students visited the amazing FORRU-CMU project in Mae Sa Mai (Forest Restoration Research Unit – Chiang Mai University). This team of ecologists and research students actively engage with local people to integrate forest restoration and biodiversity conservation into the needs of local communities. They carry out research on the reproductive ecology of native trees and their propagation in nurseries. Their methods can bring degraded forest areas that have become ecological ‘deserts’ into healthy forests bursting with life within a 12 year period.

The Grade 10 students were taken to see some of these areas, gained some insight into the local Hmong people’s relationship with the natural world, and then spent time at the FORRU-CMU centre planting seeds, and re-potting seedlings. We hope to be able to return to take part in planting saplings in the forest; there is certainly much scope for further partnership between Prem and this project.

The techniques pioneered in this project, located only a 35 drive minutes from Prem, are being applied at centres across South East Asia. In an age of seemingly endless bad news about environmental degradation it really is a beacon of hope.

Much thanks to Khun Pai and Khun Om from CMU for hosting our group for the day, and to Khun Chot from the local village for guiding us through the forest. We also thank Aj.Simon and Aj.Toey Sara for organizing this fabulous experience for the Grade 10 students.

If you are interested in the project, or would like to find out how you might become involved yourself visit http://www.forru.org/th/intro.php