Forest Restoration Research Unit (FORRU)-CMU’s mission is to develop new techniques to restore tropical forest ecosystems for biodiversity conservation and environmental protection and to communicate those techniques to the wide range of stakeholders involved with forest restoration. Being a small research unit in a Science Faculty, FORRU-CMU focusses on research to overcome the scientific and technical barriers to forest ecosystem restoration (rather than the socio-political barriers). It carries out original research on seed properties and propagation of native tree species in nurseries, to determine optimal seed collection and propagation procedures. Such research aims to optimize planting stock size and quality of a very wide range of tree species by the optimal planting time (start of rainy season). In field trials, species performances are compared, silvicultural treatments tested and biomass and carbon accumulation, structural diversification, biodiversity recovery and ecological functioning are all monitored, to build an effective framework-species approach to restoration of a wide range of forest types. Experiments are randomized complete block designs, with replication and controls. The unit also runs an education and outreach/extension program for stakeholders from school children and their teachers, to university students, community groups and professionals from both governmental and non-governmental organizations. The program consists of regular schools’ events, supervision of BSc, MSc and PhD thesis projects, workshops for professionals and the publication of numerous scientific papers, text books and practical manuals, the latter in all languages of SE Asian countries. The materials and tools used in these events have all been validated by on the unit’s original scientific research. FORRU-CMU staff are also regular contributors to international conferences and congresses.
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One FORRU-CMU representative will sit on the Executive Management Committee (EMC) and the Academic Advisory Board (AAB). FORRU-CMU will work with UH and SU to implement the “Forest restoration and rural livelihoods” focal area and support WP1 preparation and WP4 dissemination ; and will host 2 workshops on forest restoration. The unit will select appropriate academic staff to join the project’s capacity building and staff-exchange events; the latter in consultation with UH and CZU.
We will upgrade an existing BSc-level course and establish a new MSc-level course on forest restoration sciences in the Biology Department at CMU and develop a MOOC for online learning. FORRU-CMU will participate actively with all partners to produce high quality textbooks and online materials to implement curricula developed by the project. CMU will be responsible for the accreditation process of the courses/MOOC, managed by the AAB. FORRU-CMU will also develop an informal forest restoration trainee system – providing work experience to both Lao and Thai students/professionals. Furthermore, we expect to play a leading role in assisting SU to establish a forest restoration nursery and field trial plot system (having had experience of doing so in Cambodia with the Forestry Administration).