I completed a Master’s degree in the Park and Recreation program from the Faculty of Forestry, Kasetsart University (KUFF), Thailand in 2004. Since then, I have worked in the Department of Conservation in KUFF as a lecturer undertaking research on projects related to protected areas management, natural resources conservation, community conservation, nature-based tourism and ecotourism. Currently, I am pursuing a Doctoral degree in Geography at the University of Victoria, where I am looking to apply an interdisciplinary approach to socio-ecological systems, particularly a participatory research approach to community-based conservation in protected area planning and management.
Trat Province in the Eastern Gulf of Thailand on the border with Cambodia is my research area. The 156 km. of coastal area includes mangroves, seagrass beds, coral reefs and fish stocks. Local people have received benefits from these resources in different ways for a long time. Marine protected areas (MPA) have been established as a resource protection tool, but have demonstrated limited success as environmental deterioration continues and there is conflict between park officials and the communities. This area has been chosen by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources as one of the demonstration sites for new MPA establishment under recently passed legislation. These new MPAs will adopt a more community-based participatory approach that will incorporate appropriate conservation management strategies to achieving conservation benefits for all stakeholders in this area.
My proposed research will focus on the social aspects of MPA establishment and zoning in Trat province. A participatory, conservation-incentive approach will be conducted with all coastal communities and other stakeholders in my research area. The research results will help to identify the appropriate mechanisms for coastal area conservation including design of management zones.