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Project idea on developing methods for assessing land degradation in Thailand started after the disaster caused by landslides and followed by flash floods which destroyed lot of properties including loss of human
lives in various places of Thailand in 2001.The heavy rains of 11 August 2001 caused landslides and flooding in the lowlands. Many trees were uprooted in the upland areas and villages were under water and mud. It is reported that about 120 people died and over 1,000 people were homeless in that year, in addition to destruction of properties and infrastructures.
Considering the devastation caused by the landslides and flash floods, The Land Development Department (LDD)* of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives in Bangkok came up with an idea of a research project with an objective to develop methodologies for assessing land degradation in Thailand. For this purpose, The International Institute for Geo-information Sciences and Earth Observation (ITC) ** was contacted. After the World Soil Congress which took place in Bangkok in August 2002, Dr. Abbas Farshad and Dr. Dhruba Shrestha were invited to visit some of the sites in Thailand where land degradation is a problem. LDD and ITC staff visited the sites during 22-28 August 2002. Sites visited were Chanthaburi, Petchabun, Korat, Wanchin, Sonkhla and Narathiwat. In the visiting team LDD staff consisted of Mr. Anukul Suchinai, Mrs. Parida Kunnepong, Mr. Anusorn Cantanaroj, Ms. Pattaraporn Soyaya, Ms. Suda Swuttanakoon and Mr. Yuttachai Anuluxtipun. The team was led by Mrs. Parida Kunnepong.

The LDD and ITC staff identified land degradation problems as being very important to study were landslides, soil erosion, flood and soil salinity. While landsliding and soil erosion are the main problem in sloping areas, flooding is the main concern in the lowlands. In the northeastern part of Thailand, however, soil salinity is the main issue. Upon LDD request a project proposal titled “Development of methodologies for land degradation assessment applied to land use planning in Thailand” was jointly written by LDD and ITC, to be implemented during the period 2003-2005. The project agreement was signed by Mr. Ard Somrang, the Director General of LDD on 28 March 2003.Upon successful completion of the project in 2005, agreement for the second phase of the project for the duration 2006 – 2008 was signed on 29 September 2005. An addendum to the second phase of the project was signed on 29 August 2006 by Mr. Chaiwat Sittibush, LDD Director General, and Mr. Sjaak Beerens, ITC Director External Affairs.

In the first phase the overall objective is the development of
validated methods for land degradation assessment and land
use planning for sustainable development in Thailand.
Specific objectives are:
To develop methodologies for mapping degrading land i.e. areas susceptible to land slide, flood damage and drought so that proper plans can be made for sustainable development of the land.
To develop models that have the capability to generate data via transfer functions in case of missing data for instance permeability from texture or temperature from altitude, etc.
To develop GIS and Remote Sensing capabilities for land degradation assessment computerized agro-ecological zoning and sustainable land management planning (Training for the trainers).
Activities that will be carried out under this Agreement will consist of a research component as well as a contribution to a human resources development component, which are described as follows:  
The research component of the activities aim at the development of methodologies for the assessment of land degradation, and the subsequent development of land use plans for sustainable development in Thailand
The human resources development component of the activities will consist of the following two sub-components:
          - Training of LDD staff in the MSc program at ITC
          - Training of Trainers in cooperation with Universities in Thailand
Funding of the project activities will be provided by LDD
In the second phase The objectives of the project will be adjusted as follow:
GIS and RS based updating of the soil maps of Thailand
Development of methodology for mapping soil in inaccessible sloping areas. For this purpose an area in the highland of Chiang Rai province (Royal Project on mountainous area) will be used as pilot area.
LDD will be updating all soil maps of Thailand, which are currently at 1:100,000, 1:25,000 and 1:50,000 map scales. Updating soil map at 1:25,000 scales is to be carried out based on the newly acquired ortho-photographs. Development of a soil database system based on the recently acquired 1:4,000 ortho-photo in the country. Soil information content will be at soil group level. Other information will be land use and topography.Topographic information will be derived from digital elevation data. An area near Khon Kaen will be used as pilot area for this purpose.
Studies on soil degradation
Flood hazard study
          - Flood hazard parameters need to be studied including application of runoff
models. Suitable flood model should be applied and verified. Namchun subwatershed
and lowland in Lomsak district, Phetchabun province will be used as
pilot area for flood hazard study.
Landslide hazard study
          - Model application and validation of results is the responsibility of the LDD staff-incharge, consulting with the ITC staff-in charge. The results will be discussed between LDD and ITC specialists and then sent to the ITC- coordinator. Doi Angkhang in Fang district, Chiang Mai will be used as pilot area.
Development of Methodologies for
Land Degradation Assessment Applied to
Land Use Planning in Thailand
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