Climate Change, Trees and Livelihood: A Case Study on the Carbon Footprint of a Karen Community in Northern Thailand
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For decades, indigenous peoples living in the highlands of Thailand have been accused of deforestation, causing forest fires and thus air pollution. In recent years, they have also been accused to cause global warming by producing greenhouse gases due to the alleged “improper” form of agriculture they are practicing. Thus, indigenous communities have come under even greater pressure by the government’s enforcement of policies and laws that have been devised on the basis of inaccurate information and without participation of the people affected.
A recent study, conducted jointly by members of the Karen community Huay Hin Lad in Chiang Rai province and the Northern Development Foundation (NDF), based in Chiang Mai, sought to estimate the amount of greenhouse gases released through traditional land use of the Karen of Huay Hin Lad, and thus how much it contributes to global warming.
The briefing paper summarizes the results of this study and concludes with a number of policy recommendations for the Thai government for better protection of the rights of indigenous communities, their participation in decision making on upland resource management and conservation as a basis for greater cooperation between the government and indigenous communities in addressing forest conservation and climate change mitigation.