Case Studies

Mycorrhizal technology for creative reforestation and sustainable wildfire suppression for reforestation

A 2021 survey found that just 31.59% of Thailand was forested. Forest fires, agriculture, and logging are causing this reduction. The main causes of this decline are forest fires and deforestation for agriculture and logging. The remaining forests are in a critical state. Dry conditions or illegal burning cause wildfires that threaten Thai forests and people’s health. Poverty and the notion that burning wood will grow mushrooms induce illegal forest burning. Thai forestry has long struggled with this idea. Illegal flames make replanting harder by removing microbes, nutrients, and humidity and increasing PM2.5.

The green space that has been damaged needs to be restored and the first step is to repair the soil. Researchers from the Department of Botany at Chulalongkorn University have been experimenting with various types of mycorrhiza and local microorganisms mixed with soil and native plants from the area. This strategy has helped reforest Nan’s watershed forest and 3,000 Rai in Saraburi. The project intends to educate and involve the local community in conservation efforts through lectures, practical training, reforestation projects, and the restoration of damaged community woodlands. Mycorrhizal technology is used to cultivate native plants for food and income. The purpose is to reduce wildfires and smog, improve food security, and increase community income.

In 2018, Chulalongkorn University has been working on a mycorrhizal scheme designed to aid forestry efforts in Thailand. The programme has been expanded to ten locations in Thailand and one area in Laos with support from Mushroom Initiative Limited in Hong Kong. The Anandamahidol Foundation and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation have supported the programme, which has been successful at cultivating seedlings in the appropriate humidity and lighting conditions. Additionally, the university has cooperated with the Thai Ministry of Defense and the Northeastern Sufficiency Economy Learning Center to create mycorrhizal agriculture technology. Progress has been achieved in renewing the environment, and the time necessary for reforestation has been decreased from centuries to 30 to 40 years, in accordance with the objective of the 20-Year National Strategy to increase green areas in Thailand to 40%.

Transferring knowledge on ectomycorrhiza for reforestation is vital to accomplish the 20-year national strategy’s goals, including carbon neutrality and net zero greenhouse gas emissions. This can be done through training and operational operations, such as “Innovative cultivation of wild mushroom mycorrhiza in natural models” in Surin Province and “The use of mycorrhiza to promote Thai reforestation” supported by the 38th Military District and the Regional Learning Network Center. Additionally, reforestation efforts in Wiang Sa district, Nan province, led by Chulalongkorn University students, are supported by student affairs, the Department of Botany, the Santha Subdistrict administration organization, and a local forest restoration foundation.

Chulalongkorn University collaborates with various organizations working to address the problem of declining forests in the country through reforestation efforts utilizing mycorrhizal technology. These efforts aim to restore damaged green spaces, reduce illicit forest fires, and foster sustainable cohabitation between locals and the forest. This technology can rehabilitate damaged forests worldwide.


Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University

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