Forest knowledge training for Khiri Travel guides
Late August, Khiri Travel conducted forest knowledge training for nine trekking guides in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. The objective was to enhance the quality of Khiri’s treks by improving the information given to guests about forest ecosystems and land use in Thailand and neighbouring countries.
Khiri Travel brought in ecologist, Dr Stephen Elliott of the Biology department in Chiang Mai University to conduct the training. The guides and five Khiri staff spent a full day on the slopes of 1,100-metre Doi Suthep-Doi Pui national park 15 kms west of Chiang Mai city.
Dr Elliott explained subjects such as the distinction between evergreen and deciduous trees, the importance of organic matter and nutrients in soil, the survival techniques of epiphytes such as the basket fern, plant survival techniques in face of forest fires, the life cycle of the foul smelling sapria himalayana parasitic plant, and the dependence of giant buttress fig trees on air borne pollination from a single species of wasp.
“When you explore the forest, be quiet like you’re in a temple – the temple of nature,” said Dr Elliott.
The group also visited the nursery of the Forest Restoration Research Unit (FORRU) in the national park. The nursery, under supervision of the university, conducts research into the best kinds of tree species to be used for reforestation. The park has lost about 50% of its tree population due to logging and encroachment. FORRU volunteers plant seedlings that are about 50cm tall and can tolerate hot dry weather and regenerate quickly. Khiri Travel supports FORRU with financial donations.
For those interested in this educative and active outing, Khiri Travel offers a half-day tour of Doi Suthep-Doi Pui national park. The trip visits Doi Suthep temple and the FORRU nursery. Travelers hike through the forest past the giant fig trees to Montatharn Falls and the smaller Sai Yoi waterfall for brunch.