The Forest Restoration Research Unit (FORRU-CMU) is a small team of ecologists and research students in the Science Faculty of Chiang Mai University, N. Thailand, who carry out research to develop efficient methods to restore tropical forest ecosystems for biodiversity conservation, environmental protection and carbon storage. Our unit also has an education/outreach team, which provides technical training, based on our research, to a wide range of organizations involved in forest restoration.
Our philosophy is that tropical forests can be restored ... but it needs sound ecological research to provide science-based skills and knowledge to those most directly affected by deforestation. FORRU-CMU actively engages with local people to integrate biodiversity conservation into the needs of communities, situated in or nearby tropical forests. We believe that if local people have appropriate and sound technical support and are directly involved in all aspects of forest restoration, from planning, to growing and planting trees, they will develop a sense of “stewardship” of restoration projects and will actively participate in caring for and monitoring restored sites, thus reducing the likelihood of subsequent deforestation.
We work mainly in Thailand and have established satellite units, based on the FORRU-CMU model, in Kanchanaburi and Krabi Provinces. In addition, we are exporting our research methods to neighbouring countries to assist the forestry authorities in Laos, China, The Philippines, Indonesia and Cambodia to develop research-based forest restoration techniques, suitable for the distinctive ecosystems and socio-political conditions in each of those countries.
We work with any organizations with a genuine concern for ecological restoration, from grass roots community groups and schools, to international conservation organizations (IUCN, FAO, WWF-Thailand, ICRAF etc.), government agencies and the private sector.
FORRU-CMU is a research lab within the Science Faculty of Chiang Mai University. The Faculty provides a small grant to support our work, as well as office space and logistical support. Most of our funding comes from research grants and donations.