Environmental science is shaped by the socio-political context in which it is produced. Environmental problems and explanations are context specific, and this article contributes to a critical political ecology by illustrating the changing relationship between conceptualisation of environmental problems and explanations of them, and the socio-political context in contemporary Thailand. During the 'development epoch' from the 1950s, both natural and social sciences became compartmentalised and the epistemology of environmental science became dominated by the demands of a growth economy and utilitarian values. The resulting impasse of conventional knowledge of natural resource management coincided with a socio-political and bureaucratic reform process pushed by various democratic movements. Together with a request for decentralisation and devolution of state power, these movements are also fighting for sustainable utilisation of natural resources, and sustainable agricultural practices. A precondition, however, for sustainable utilisation of natural resources is a change in conceptualisation and knowledge creation for resource management. The Sustainable Land Use and Natural Resource Management (SLUSE) collaboration offers alternative ways of creating knowledge for sustainable utilisation of natural resources, that aim to support the present socio-political reform process in Thailand.
Keywords: Thailand, natural resource management, transdisciplinarity
How to Cite:
Buch-Hansen M. & Oksen P. & Prabudhanitisarn S., (2006) “Rethinking natural resource management in Thailand”, Journal of Political Ecology 13(1). p.48-59. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/v13i1.21678