Thailand: Methodology Workshop on Environmental Services & Land Use Change: Bridging the Gap between Policy & Research in SE Asia (31 May to 2 June 1999, Chiang Mai)


Announcement & Call for Papers 

Methodology Workshop on Environmental Services & Land Use Change:
Bridging the Gap between Policy & Research in SE Asia

31 May to 2 June 1999, Chiang Mai

Organized by: International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) in collaboration with: Impact Centre for Southeast Asia (IC-SEA) & Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Collaborative Research Support Programme (SANREM CRSP)

Sponsor: Asian Development Bank

Field trip: On Thursday, 3 June, a one-day field trip to Mae Taeng Watershed, Chiang Mai Province, Northern Thailand will enable participants to see promising pilot efforts on managing environmental services and land use change.

Workshop Purpose & Objectives

The SE Asian Regional Programme of the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) and its research partners plan a major thrust in quantitative analysis of environmental services and policy problems, including the causes of regional smoke problems, the changing functional roles of landscape biodiversity, and the degradation of watershed functions resulting from land use change. This work is part of the global Alternatives to Slash-and-Burn (ASB) programme, which conducts research on sustainable upland systems as alternatives to unsustainable slash-and-burn in various parts of the tropics, including major sites in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. The purpose of the workshop is to seek a common understanding of these environmental problems and to review existing data and methods for quantitative analysis of three environmental policy issues linked to land use change: smoke, biodiversity, and watershed functions.

The workshop will bring together users of information with researchers who produce information. The objectives of this workshop are to:

  • assess the needs of policymakers, landuse planners, natural resource managers and other users of information on environmental services and related policy problems

  • identify usable data and appropriate existing methods for quantifying these environmental services in order to address major environmental policy problems

  • identify gaps in either data or methods

  • where gaps exist, to set priorities for filling them

Workshop Organization

An initial overview session will be followed by three thematic sessions-one each for smoke, biodiversity, and watershed functions–that each will comprise:

  • presentations by users of research results regarding their perceptions of these environmental services, the relevant scale for assessment and management, the policy instruments available to address these policy problems, and their needs for usable quantitative information

  • presentations of research papers on (a) the state of data and methods for quantifying these environmental services, (b) studies of the scope and limits of current understanding of these environmental services and related policy problems, and (c) studies of policy and institutional approaches to these environmental problems, including the process of implementing solutions.

  • synthesis of the current availability of data and quantitative methods, their relevance to problems and opportunities facing the users of this information, priorities for filling gaps in data or methods, and strategic options for addressing each theme

Theme 1. Managing smoke

Banning burning has not worked. What policy options and policy instruments presently exist to manage the recurrent regional problem of too much smoke in the wrong place at the wrong time? What data would be useful in designing and implementing a strategy to manage burning in order to address the smoke problem? What are the consequences of land clearing without the use of fire? What is the role of remote sensing data? Of studies of local institutions? What other types of data or research would be useful to policymakers? If those data were available, how could they be used? (And, given the inaction to date, under what circumstances would they be used?)

Theme 2. Changing roles of biodiversity in the landscape

Much discussion of biodiversity conservation focuses on existence values – i.e., preventing extinctions. Landscape ecology currently emphasizes managing corridors and bufferzones to improve opportunities for dispersal and recolonization. Much less attention has been given to local functional values of biodiversity in the landscape (belowground as well as above), ranging from the tangible (but not yet well quantified) roles of biodiversity in sustainability and resilience of production systems to less tangible esthetic and spiritual roles of biodiversity for local people who experience its pluses (and minuses) daily. Which among these-and other roles-are felt to be most important at the local and national level? To what extent is it feasible to go beyond plot-level measures of richness and to scale-up to the landscape level? Are there important functions that are unquantifiable? If so, how can these be incorporated in the debate? More broadly, how can diverse societies identify these functional roles of biodiversity and assess tradeoffs with other public policy objectives? And, if these options can be articulated, what is the scope for action through policy reform or institutional strengthening?

Theme 3. Loss of watershed functions

National concern for forest conservation and reforestation often focuses on the loss of the watershed functions of natural forests. While some land uses may be as good as natural forest in this regard, land uses are believed to differ significantly in their ability to supply these watershed functions. Loss of watershed functions can be a combination of:

  1. on-site loss of land productivity as a result of erosion,

  2. off-site concerns about water quantity, including annual water yield, peak (storm) flow, dry season base flow, and groundwater recharge or depletion,

  3. off-site concerns about water quality, including siltation of reservoirs and environmental damage from runoff of pesticides, fertilizers, or animal wastes.

This session seeks methods to quantify erosion from natural processes, agriculture or other activities (such as road construction) and to assess the impacts (positive as well as negative) of resulting sedimentation. The session also seeks methods to predict how land use change affects risks of floods, seasonal water shortages, and water pollution from agricultural activities. Finally, we are interested in lessons from experience in organizing and implementing solutions to address loss of watershed functions.

Call for papers

The workshop organizing committee is seeking expressions of interest in preparation of papers for presentation in sessions on each of the three workshop themes. Please send a proposed title, an abstract of 100 words or less, and full contact information.

The organizing committee will select certain papers for oral presentation and certain others for poster presentations. Depending on the nature and scale of interest expressed for each theme, it is expected that the organizing committee will invite collaboration among individuals to prepare a joint paper on closely related topics. These invited collaborations and selected papers are to be published in a special issue of an international journal. Selected posters will be on display during the workshop. Selected participants will be notified in early January 1999.

This call for expressions of interest is open to anyone. Researchers based in Southeast Asia are particularly encouraged to respond. Cost of travel and accommodation will be covered for selected participants.

Please note that all presentations, abstracts, papers, and posters must be in English.

Deadline for abstracts: 30 November 1998

Address correspondence to:

Dr. Thomas P. Tomich
Southeast Asian Regional Research Programme
International Centre for Research in Agroforestry
Fax: (62) (251) 625415
Phone: (62) (251) 625416
Postal address: P.O. Box 161, Bogor 16001, Indonesia


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien