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Improvement of crop yields and simultaneous environmental impact assessment in conjunction with intensification and diversification of agroforestry on marginal land in Northern Thaïland


The pressure on the existing fertile land in Northern Thailand have forced Government authorities to move an increasinq number of landless farmers (about 30 % of the total number of farmers) to marginal land which has not been intensivelv used in the Dast. Agroforestry has been introduced and is larqely practised as a combination of fruit trees and/or multipurpose trees together with annual cash crops of a high economic value. Two major problems have envolved which are of great concern both to Government authorities as well as to scientific institutions. 1. The same tree species and also the same species varieties of annuals show remarkably different performances depending on the physical properties of distinct land units. A natural resource inventory of the main types of marginal land (old upper fluvial terraces; erosional surfaces; steep mountains), by working with large-scale topographical maps and aerial analysing and measuring key parameters of relief and soil in the field and in the laboratory and by using GIS-manipulations will be compared with the crop performances and will lead to a land suitability classification which facilitates the decisions for crop yield improvements. Further on-farm research will include the participation of farmers and will design possible alternative solutions against farmers technology, by introducing training programmes to the farmers in the field of crop management for annuals and plant propagation techniques for perennial fruit trees. 2. A serious problem is the high input of agrochemicals, which requires an environmental impact assessment, entirely new for Thailand, which can be presently only a starting point with a "multiplication effect" later. Residue analyses of agrochemicals will be carried out to arrive at tolerable treshold values for different chemicals in different sets of environment. A flow path model of chemicals in the environment will be developed, based on field measurements in a small natural watershed. The reduction of the use of chemicals by more environmentally acceptable integrated control measurements will be investigated and introduced to the farmers. The role of local politicians and community groups in conjunction with environmental protection will be an important research item and will be investigated.
Comprehensive GIS-manipulations and remote sensing techniques which have heen developed in previous STD 2 are fully operational in CMU.


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Senckenberganlage 36
60325 Frankfurt-am-main

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