30 May 2023

Thai Conservation of Forest Foundation (TCOF), a charitable organization established and supported by Electricity Generating Public Company Limited or EGCO Group to promote natural resources and watershed forest conservation for over 20 years, and Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (TISTR) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to cooperate in “utilizing research for commercial and social benefits.” The cooperation will focus on transferring knowledge and research findings about science, technology, and innovation to local communities in watershed forest areas in order to enhance quality of lives and enable communities to live in harmony with the forests. At the same time, forest-related research will be practically optimized to protect, conserve, and restore the ecosystem of watershed forests.

Mr. Thepparat Theppitak, Chairman of the Board of TCOF and President of EGCO Group, stated that the TCOF’s task is to promote watershed forest and natural resources conservation and restoration in a sustainable manner because forest is the origin of all kinds of energy and lives. Based on the belief that “People exist, Forests exist”, TCOF has played an active role in strengthening local communities near watershed forests through career development that fits with specific environment, way of living, and local wisdom. Communities can live in harmony with the forests and help conserve nature, utilizing the forests to their best benefits. At the same time, this will reduce risks of forest encroachment or open burning which partially causes PM 2.5 dust problem in Thailand. “This cooperation will bring together the different areas of strength of both partners. TCOF acts as the middle person connecting and enabling the application and adoption of TISTR’s scientific and technological knowledge, research, and innovations. We are more focus on those that create added value and promote agricultural product processing in order to enhance career and quality of life of people in communities surrounding watershed forests. This will strengthen and make communities more self-sustained and reduce problems related to forest burning. Moreover, TISTR’s forest-related research will support conservation activities and operations of the foundation and increase our efficiency in participatory management of forests,” said Mr. Thepparat.

Prof. Dr. Chutima Eamchotchawalit, TISTR’s Governor, said, “TISTR is very pleased to work with EGCO Group and TCOF which seriously cares for the conservation of natural resources and biodiversity in watershed forests, supports related research, and disseminating useful knowledge for local communities and the environment. TISTR is pleased to share our knowledge and expertise in research and development as well as technology and innovation services to support TCOF’s operation. By working together, we provide opportunities for local communities to have access to our pool of knowledge and innovation and optimize them for the best benefits of their communities. We hope this will further drive sustainable development of the society, economy, and the environment under the Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) holistic economic model.” From 2020-2021, TCOF and TISTR jointly applied the “Mycorrhiza wild mushroom cultivation” technology to develop forests in Chaing Mai and introduced it to students in 30 schools under “Thai Rak Pa Youth Network” in Chiang Mai. Through this activity, students have gained the correct understanding and knowledge about wild mushroom cultivation, the first step of expanding green area. At the same time, this activity has helped local communities to generate more income, thus, reducing wild mushroom picking and open burning, and dust problem. TCOF and TISTR have also worked together to develop new technology that extends shelf-life of “Look Pra” or “Look Kra”, seeds of a local “Pra” plant in the South of Thailand. This will help local communities in Ban Nai Mong area, Phrom Khiri District, Nakhon Si Thammarat province, to increase the value of their local products. These activities have successfully helped people to live harmoniously with the forests and enjoy a better quality of life.

About Thai Conservation of Forest Foundation
Thai Conservation of Forest Foundation (TCOF), or Thai Rak Pa foundation, is a charitable organization established and supported by EGCO Group to promote conservation of Thailand’s natural resources and major watershed forests since 2002. To achieve such a goal, TCOF sets up missions in 3 areas. The first one is to preserve and restore forests in parallel with improving the quality of life of local communities through the “Thai Rak Pa Village” projects, which is in line with the approach “People exit, Forests exit.” The foundation has also strengthened community alliances by connecting targeted areas through the “Thai Rak Pa Community Network” to leverage the potential of local communities surrounding watershed forest and related agencies for natural resources conservation. Additionally, TCOF has initiated the “Thai Rak Pa Youth Network” project and the “Nature Trail Development” project, aiming to raise awareness among young people and the general public on forest conservation. To continue its commitment to watershed forest conservation and restoration with participation from all sectors, TCOF revealed its new target to conserve forests of 100,000 rai, and restore degraded forests and improve agricultural systems of 5,000 rai in 3 regions (the North, the South, and the Northeast).