Story | 23 Mar, 2021

Underscoring community values and ecosystem services of the Baan Pa Pong wetland forest, Thailand

On 26 February, during the Buddhist Makha Bucha Day celebration, the Hill Area and Community Development Foundation (HADF) in collaboration with the Baan Pa Pong community, the River for Life Association, and the Rak Chiang Khong Group held a ceremony for "Extending the Life of the Wetland Forest: People, Forests and Rivers in the Ing River Basin.” The event highlighted the Baan Pa Pong wetland forest’s spiritual values to over 200 attendees and aimed to support the designation of Lower Ing River Wetlands as a Ramsar site.

Monks visited the wetland and performed a ceremony to highlight the site’s spiritual values and the need for the conservation of the wetland forest. The activity also encouraged local communities and authorities to respect the unique area, and drew attention to the ecosystem services that it has provided for over 100 years. It also strengthened the community’s understanding of their role in forest conservation and the relationship between people and the forest. The event served as a platform to share experiences in sustainable forest management and build an understanding of the Ramsar site designation process.

The event was the result of a collaboration between local NGOs in the Baan Pa Pong community and Hill Area and Community Development Foundation (HADF) and was funded through a small grant from the Indo-Burma Ramsar Regional Initiative (IBRRI). The grant's objectives are to promote community participation in Ing River wetland management and the development of climate change adaptation options to support increased wetland resilience and the designation of the wetland as a Ramsar site. HADF is a non-government organization that aims to strengthen networks through co-learning and promote policies to conserve community resources in the Ing River Basin.

For generations, the community has been preserving and protecting Baan Pa Pong wetland forest, which they rely on heavily for their livelihoods. The forest provides diverse ecosystem services, including the provision of plants, herbs, and acts as a breeding ground for aquatic animals during the flooding of the seasonal wetland forest. Ban Pa Pong wetland forest is one of the remaining 26 swamp forests in the Ing River Basin and is maintained solely by the community. The river basin is a tributary of the Mekong River in the northern part of Thailand.

The ceremony was also aired on national television on the Thai Public Broadcasting Service.



The Indo-Burma Ramsar Regional Initiative (IBRRI) was jointly developed by the Ramsar National Focal Points of the five countries (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam), and IUCN’s Asia Regional Office, based on specific needs identified in these countries. It was endorsed by the 52nd meeting of the Ramsar Convention Standing Committee in June 2016. The IBRRI aims to support the coordinated implementation of the objectives of the Strategic Plan of the Ramsar Convention. IUCN acts as the Secretariat for the Initiative under the leadership of the Steering Committee, which includes representatives from the five governments and the Ramsar Convention Secretariat as an observer.