IPSI Collaborative Activities

Promoting and Enhancing the Karen Indigenous Sustainable Socio-ecological Production System in Northern Thailand

Lead organization: Inter Mountain Peoples Education and Cultural in Thailand Association (IMPECT)

Participating organizations (IPSI members): 
Indigenous Knowledge and Peoples Foundation (IKAP); Forest People Program (FPP); Conservation International;  Pgakenyaw Association for Sustainable Development (PASD)

Other participating organizations (non-IPSI members): 
Karen Network for Culture and Environment (KNCE)


This collaborative activity was completed as of May 2019

Completion Form

Description of the activity:

Site locations:

  • Mae Tae Khee (Khun Tae), Thailand, Chiang Mai Province, Chomthong District, Doi Kaew Sub district, Moo 5
  • Mae Yod Khee, Thailand, Chiang Mai Province, Mae Chaem District, Mae Suk Sub district, Moo 9
  • Mae Um Pai, Thailand, Maehongson Province, Mae La Noi District, Mae Tho Subdistrict, Moo 5

The activities:

Component 1: Strengthen community organizations and leaders, and enhance networking, including of women and youth groups.

  • Activity 1 Training and exposure trip
  • Activity 2: Leadership forums for community leaders, women and youth groups, networks
  • Activity 3: Lessons learn forum (leaders in communities and networking levels in all project sites)

Component 2: Community-based land use mapping and sustainable management planning (including zoning for agriculture, forests and other ecosystems management and community planning addressing endangered species)

  • Activity 1: Community GIS survey addressing land use and ownership, classification of forests and areas for rotational farming, including border areas and fallow land that could benefit from replanting and species enrichment.
  • Activity 2: Landscape and ecosystem protection: fire control (e.g., fire break system); customary use regulations and rituals for protected spaces; recovering forest landscape with diverse activities appropriate to the local context

Component 3: Revitalization and transmission of traditional knowledge and customary use practices (to younger generations) for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use [this can go in other columns: spiritual space e.g. rituals, believes, values etc.]

  • Activity 1: Strengthen role and authority of the elders, spiritual leaders/shamans and knowledge holders.
  • Activity 2: Compile studies on traditional customary laws and regulation as basis to be applied in practice.
  • Activity 3: Cultural camps for young people to create youth networking in river basin level

Component 4: Communities economic self-reliance through biodiversity-friendly (organic) agriculture building on traditional rotational farming system and integrating innovative agro-forestry activities to increase productivity and livelihoods [such as natural bee raising for honey products and NTFPs]

  • Activity 1: Organize forums on community economic self-determined development.
  • Activity 2: Implement appropriate self-determined economic activities for food and income.
  • Activity 3: Develop marketing for local products and community fund for economic self-reliance.

Component 5: Public awareness (for media and society) on Karen natural resource management systems and innovations for sustainable development

  • Activity 1: Compile and produce information and documentation to effectively communicate Karen natural resource management to the outside world through diverse media (video, internet, social media).
  • Activity 2: Distribute the information to access main stream media.

Component 6: Engage in policy and legal reform at local, national and global level to support and promote community-based sustainable socio-ecological production systems.

  • Activity 1: Organize forums to share results and experiences of the project activities with the aim to incorporate community plans and rules into the local administration councils.
  • Activity 2: Present the project result in national forum to influence relevant national policy makers, and internationally in relevant global processes (CBD, IPBES, SDGs)

Actors and task sharing:

Implement the project:

  • Intermountain Education and Culture in Thailand Association (IMPECT), Chiang Mai
  • Pgaz K’ Nyau Association for Sustainable Development (PASD), Chiang Mai
  • Indigenous Knowledge and Peoples Foundation (IKAP), Chiang Mai
  • Karen Network for Culture and Environment (KNCE)

Technical Advisor:

  • Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), UK


  • Conservation International

How the activity relates to the IPSI Strategy and IPSI Plan of Action:

These activities are aimed at demonstrating well managed SEPLS based on Karen traditional knowledge and culture achieved through multi-stakeholder partnerships. The expected results would contribute directly to increased knowledge and understanding of SEPLS, address the direct and underlying causes responsible for the destruction of SEPLS, and enhance the benefits from SEPLS.

The project also incorporates the use of the Indicators of Resilience in the management and evaluation of its progress which could assist in the enhancement of the indicators if or when revised in the future. Community members have already benefited from capacity building in this regard and will be evaluating their SEPLS on their own. Important sections of the toolkit have been translated into Thai and Karen languages.

In relation to the plan of action, this activity contributes by:

  • Supporting indigenous peoples and local communities (Karen) to produce case studies and relevant materials to increase the understanding about traditional systems of landscape and seascape management. (Objective 1)
  • Facilitating and promoting on-the-ground activities to empower local communities to evaluate, assess and manage SEPLS (Objective 2).
  • Supporting indigenous peoples and local communities to govern and manage their resources, and sustain or improve social cohesion and local economies (Objective 3).
  • Building on the existing work with indicators of resilience in SEPLS by additional testing in the villages of Mae Tae Khee, Mae Umpai and Mae Yod (Objective 3).
  • Exploring opportunities for branding of products derived from the SEPLS of Karen Rotational Farming systems (Objective 3) through potential partnerships with the private sector and the further development of market linkages.
  • Facilitating efforts to feed and implement the SEPLS concept into key policy programmes and plans, including NBSAPs/LBSAPs through lobbying the committee Board of Cabinet Resolution of Recovering Karen Livelihood (Objective 4).
  • Organizing workshops, seminars and other capacity building activities, including the exchange of experiences among indigenous peoples and local communities based on capacity needs assessment to implement the IPSI Strategy and Plan of Action (Objective 4).
  • Expected outcomes
  • Community organizations and leaders in the target areas are strengthened and better networked
  • The three target communities become model for biodiversity sustainable use and conservation by building on their traditional knowledge and customary practices and through innovative community resource mapping and planning.
  • The target communities generate sustainable forms of biodiversity-friendly agriculture by revitalizing traditional rotational farming and increasing its productivity through species enrichment, value added processing, and recovering degraded areas (total area 60,000 Ha).
  • Endangered species in the target areas are protected and a recovering plan is developed, including protection from invasive alien species.
  • Local and national policies and regulations are influenced by the project and provide support to the Karen cultural and natural resource management systems.
  • Objectives:
  • Strengthen and promote culturally-based agriculture and natural resource management of Karen people in target area and for them to become a good model recognized by government agencies and replicable by other communities.
  • Empower community leaders, organizations and networks to become effective in expressing their cultural and traditional knowledge and practices, in using modern mapping and land use planning technology, and in negotiating on the use of natural resources with policy-makers and others (e.g. private sector)
  • Mainstream customary sustainable practices into local and national sustainable development and biodiversity policy (e.g. NBSAP) and practice through recognition by government agencies and in relevant policies and laws.
  • Resources, funding
  • GEF-Satoyama Project
  • Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre (SAC), Bangkok
  • Mae Suk Sub-District Administration Council
  • Administration office of Mae Cheam District
  • Royal Project
  • Minister of Education

Monitoring and reporting:

    • IMPECT
    • Conservation International