Xiang Ding, 2013, Economics

Social forestry is a young and increasingly complex concept. RECOFTC, a ­regional ­leader in Asia, engages with a wide spectrum of social forestry work—expanding ­community ­forestry, studying climate change, mitigating forest conflict, and securing ­local ­livelihoods. My internship placement with the Communications, Marketing, and ­Fundraising ­Department in RECOFTC’s Bangkok headquarters gave me immediate ­access to, and a stake in, the pioneering work driven by experts in each of these areas. Day to day, I took part in the fact checking, editing, and designing phase of all in-house publications and web materials. I was exposed to a wealth of technical knowledge: climate change indicators from forest growth, livestock management practices in rural Cambodia, and insights into the United Nation’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest ­Degradation Plus (UNREDD+) Program. This branch of work took me to Sam Phak Nam, a traditional ­village in north Thailand, where I documented a series of RECOFTC workshops on ­Community Carbon Accounting (a sampling process to estimate carbon storage ­capacity in ­forests). Home-stay in the field allowed me to interview various stakeholders in the ­social forestry scene—experts, officials, village leaders, forest users, and the youth—a most ­interesting, valuable, and organic NGO-like-experience. I later used the notes, pictures, and transcripts from this field trip as a part of a gallery display in the 2nd Regional Forum for People and Forests.