Keywords: co-management, elephants, human-wildlife conflict, management planning, park management board, Thailand, national parks, protected areas, participatory management planning
Exploratory co-management interventions in Kuiburi National Park, Central Thailand, including human-elephant conflict mitigation
Co-management is a developing field of protected area management. Increasingly, the practice is to involve local communities and other stakeholders in protected area planning and management. In many countries, management boards, co-management structures and other participatory mechanisms are being created. This paper reports on promoting co-management involving participatory management planning at Kuiburi National Park, Central Thailand, through the establishment of two working groups, namely a core management planning team comprising park personnel (charged with leading plan implementation), operating in parallel with a park management board working group (local people and other stakeholders). These institutional bodies participated in a park management planning process, which was fuelled by socio-economic data focusing on the high profile human-elephant conflict in the buffer zone. The initiative led to a major rethink on participatory management planning by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation. The process also led to some valuable recommendations for human-elephant conflict mitigation, both at Kuiburi and the international context.