|Conservation and Development in Northern Thailand. Proceedings of a Programmatic Workshop on Agro-forestry and Highland-Lowland Interactive Systems, Held at Chiang Mai, Thailand, 13-17 November 1978 (UNU, 1980, 114 pages)|
|Subcommittee reports, plenary discussion, and recommendations|
These three topics of documentation, training, and personnel, while somewhat different among themselves, are linked here because they represent a special type of immediate research support system for the central research project. As the research project itself becomes more clearly defined and progresses to the actual field-work stage, the recommendations herein will require progressive modification.
The subcommittee recommends the establishment of a reference collection of documents immediately related to research problems and methods in the Northern Thai highlands and lowlands, and of documents of a more general nature. Such materials should be in the possession of Chiang Mai University but housed at the Huai Thung Choa field station. Documents should include topographic and thematic maps of various scales. air photographs and satellite imagery. and copies of reports and scientific papers, as well as selected standard textbooks, reference works, and laboratory and field manuals. It would be best to begin with preparation of an annotated bibliography. An effort should be made to provide for translation into the Thai language. Close collaboration should be developed with the National Research Council, the Tribal Research Centre, Chiang Mai, and similar resource centres to avoid unnecessary duplication. However, emphasis is placed on the need to upgrade the research effectiveness of the Huai Thung Choa field station itself.
To begin this process, participants of this workshop are requested to make available copies of their own research reports and associated publications. Exchanges with similar UNU and other projects need to be developed and maintained.
Visiting scientists who work on the project should be required to ensure that early preliminary reports of their work, plus copies of all their field data, be deposited with the project co-ordinator before they leave the Chiang Mai region.
Efforts should be made to ensure dissemination of results and related information at various levels: scientific publications. UNU newsletter, and lay-orientated articles in popular magazines.
Training needs are seen to fall into several categories: (1 ) training of younger scholars (bachelor-master level), (2) specialized training of graduates and research fellows to ensure higher technical and interdisciplinary input, and (3) Inservice training of government employees. especially those of the Royal Forestry Department. The degree-earning approach should be de-emphasized although the overall project is perceived as being eminently suitable for attainment of higher degrees by graduate student project participants. Chiang Mai University faculty with heavy pre-existing commitments could be assisted by provision of teaching assistants, or could be encouraged to direct project graduate students.
The project could also benefit considerably by arrangements being made to encourage participation of graduate students and senior scientists from countries with similar problems, for example. Burma, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and others. This could be achieved by provision of UNU fellowships, but also other agency and national funding could also be acquired.
A fourth type of training and educational development, of course, relates to the associated highland people themselves. Success in ensuring adoption of any alternative land-use approaches and agro-forestry techniques and innovations will depend heavily upon dissemination of information and example amongst the highland peoples themselves.
A project co-ordinator should be formally appointed and granted partial UNU salary support. He should have a parttime assistant co-ordinator who would also preferably be included in the project as a research officer. Senior research fellows, both Thai and visitors, need to be identified to ensure that the many facets of this interdisciplinary project are properly staffed. Graduate research students must be identified and consideration given to acquisition of technical/clerical support staff as required.
The foregoing recommendations presuppose that a sustained effort be made by the Project Co-ordinator and the UN University to ensure participation of faculty and graduate students from the various relevant components of Chiang Mai University. and liason developed with other appropriate research projects being undertaken in Northern Thailand.
To ensure adequate review and evaluation of progress the UN University. in consultation with Chiang Mai University. should appoint an advisory committee consisting of two senior Thai research administrators and two outside experts. together with a UNU staff officer. This committee should hold its first meeting in November 1979 in conjunction with the already planned agro forestry workshop so as to reduce expenses to a minimum. A proposed structure for the research organization is shown in Fig. 1.