CLASSIFICATION OF FORESTLAND FOR SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT PLANNING : A CASE STUDY OF COMMUNITY FORESTS IN NAKHON RATCHASIMA PROVINCE
Forestland was classified to help understand the capability of the forest area before formulating a forest management plan. A sample of 175 cases of Nakhon Ratchasima community forest (NMA_CF) projects undertaken by the Royal Forest Department was analyzed for the classification of forestland. Investigation, field checking, and geographic information system data on topographical and ecological information were utilized, namely: slope, elevation, soil, landform, and geology. The watershed classification (WSC) equation
of the Moon-Chi basin and guidance under the National Forestry Policy were used in the investigation and classification process. The study revealed that the sampled forestland could be classified into two categories, 1) protected community forest (1 case) where contains WSC class 1-2 and the average slope was 35% or greater and management was for conservation and 2) productive community forest (174 cases) where contains WSC class 3-5 and the slope was less than 35% and management was for utilization and tree planting and the implementation of erosion protection measures. The forestland classification is helpful to forest managers in illustrating the important relationships and distinctions among the different land use types in the management of forest areas and in implementing the best solution to achieve the forestland objectives of the landowners. Using the two categories of NMA_CF, forest managers can formulate the necessary, integrated activities for each specific NMA_CF area, thus contributing to proper NMA_CF planning to achieve sustainable forest management.
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