One Community Project

About Us


Thung Yai Naresuan West Wildlife Sanctuary is a large forest track spanning more than 1.3 million rais (208,000 hectares). The area was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1974 and recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as part of the Huai Kha Khaeng – Thung Yai Natural World Heritage Site in 1991. The largely intact forest regions comprising Huai Kha Khaeng, Thang Yai Naresuan East, and Thung Yai Naresuan West Wildlife Sanctuaries, spanning 4,017,087 rais or over 6,000 square kilometers, remain the largest natural conservation areas in Thailand and Southeast Asia. This world natural heritage plot is renown for its natural beauty, teeming with wildlife and biodiversity, within a complex ecosystem, and is home to flora and fauna of great importance to the world. The area occupies a unique biogeographical position and is the source of many major rivers of Thailand including Mae Klong, Salween, Sakaerung, Tha Chin, and part of the Chaophraya.

In addition, within the Thung Yai Naresuan West Wildlife Sanctuary live Karen ethnic communities who have been continuing their traditional ways of life and culture in harmony with the forest environment. These communities are found through several confirmed records to have lived in the area for over a hundred years, today residing in 7 communities within 6 villages­­ – namely Gongmongta, Sanehphong, Koh Sadeung, Thilaipa, Salawa-Laiwo, and Jagae.

Looking back, people have commonly perceived of threats to nature – including deforestation, poaching, or forest burning, to come mostly from communities living near the forests, who had to make use of forest resources for their livelihood. However, today a major impending threat comes from the farther away cities and modern urban influences that are transforming the communities’ traditional ways of living and culture and the natural world. Agricultural investments from outsiders have transformed traditional rotational multi-cropping practices to non-rotational single-cropping practices. The usage of chemicals in agriculture as well as modern farming equipment and technologies in order to reduce labor have begun to create increasing monetary demand amongst community members. The increasing value for technological convenience is in turn gradually shifting the communities away from self-reliance and self-sufficiency, where they were able to ensure their own basic necessities – food, shelter, clothing, and medicines. Also evident are changing perceptions towards education – more and more, the villagers believe that classroom education according to the national system, rather than field learning and farming and traditional life skills, would address their livelihoods. This has resulted in the younger generation straying farther away from nature and the customary practices of their forefathers who have co-existed in harmony with nature, instead to begin to desire more of an urban lifestyle. Such value shifts would likely lead to the risks of degradation and loss of nature. However, the risks are still in early days.  

Therefore, it is an urgent mission to inculcate understanding in the youths residing within the natural world heritage area of the reality and priceless value of the “natural heritage” that is their home. At the same time, it is crucial to enrich the thinking and build the capacity of the younger generations to be able to appreciate and follow the way of life and culture of their forefathers who have long lived in harmony with nature. The process of walking with the younger generation through scientific evidence and the “law of nature” is intended to lead towards “proper thinking, proper action, and proper living” with the forest in a “new way” suited to the new generation and today’s world. This deep understanding would be a strong foundation in developing amongst the youths a sense of stewardship of the natural heritage and desire to work closely with wildlife sanctuary officials as part of the same team to safeguard the area.

Extending the opportunity for the youth representatives to realize their value and empower them as co-inhabitants, and part of the “natural heritage” – to work together with authorities on nature conservation; to pursue a way of life in which nature and communities co-benefit; and to be able to share their understandings, body of knowledge, and values with the wider community and more members of the younger generation, through a continuous process – is critical to the sustainability of this Thai heritage plot so that it can stand as “world heritage” for future generations to come…

“Because we are together world heritage”

Project Goals

  1. A core group of youth representatives from the 7 communities of Thung Yai Naresuan West Wildlife Sanctuary are fully engaged in conservation responsibilities for the Natural World Heritage Site (“Oneness” of conservation efforts)
  2. A body of knowledge on participatory natural heritage conservation by the community is collected through the project implementation process

The Fundamentals

Humans are key to all transformations in this world, for better or worse.

What, then, should humans do?

Transformations, for better or worse useful and harmful

Changes take place all the time, and with them come positive or negative effects.

Economy / Ecology

Humans co-exist within 2 systems:  

“Economy” is created by humans.

“Ecology” is not created by humans but shares a co-dependent relationship and is indispensable.

Economic and ecological systems are ever-changing and often trade-offs. With economic development comes increasing ecological degradation.

Mental / Physical Actions

Human beings undertake a combination of mental and physical actions every day, every hour, and every minute. If righteous actions are taken, the effects would be balance and harmony.

Balance / Harmony

Balance and harmony result from righteous mental and physical actions. The external state (economy and ecology) would realize balance and the internal state (mind) would realize harmony, unfolding true aesthetics of individual and universal value.  

Key Components