Population dynamics and land-use changes in a Miang (Chewing Tea) village, Northern Thailand
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In the forested mountainous region of northern Thailand, traditional tea cultivation lands—called the ‘<i>miang</i> tea gardens’—have been maintained for the production of chewing tea called ‘<i>miang</i>’. These <i>miang</i> tea gardens consist of tea trees that are covered by tall shade trees and small patches of forest. Therefore, the <i>miang</i> tea gardens have been recognised as an agroforestry system. The long-term changes in the population and land use patterns in the <i>miang</i> producing villages (<i>miang</i> villages) have not yet been identified, particularly during the last three decades, when Thailand experienced drastic socioeconomic changes.<br>This study attempts to elucidate the dynamics of one of the <i>miang</i> village, specifically, the P community in PMO village in Chiang Mai Province. Applied methodologies include conducting direct interviews with the villagers, mapping of the gardens using global positioning system (GPS) and an analysis with geographical information systems (GIS). This paper discusses the population and land use developments that took place in this village and its socioeconomic factors.<br>We classified the village history into the following two phases: the ‘expansion phase’ and the ‘declining phase’. The former extended from 1970 to the early 1980s, and the latter spanned the late 1980s to 2002. During the expansion phase, the population of the P community increased with the prospect of an increase in the production of <i>miang</i> both inside and outside the village. The <i>miang</i> farmers began converting mature forests into the <i>miang</i> tea gardens. Contrary to this trend, during the declining phase, the population of the P community declined due to the migration of the working population to other industries, following a recession in the <i>miang</i> market. During this phase, the management of the <i>miang</i> tea gardens coped with the abovementioned socioeconomic developments surrounding the production of <i>miang</i>. In order to diversify the utilisation of land, the management adopted strategies—such as converting the production of <i>miang</i> into drinking tea production, cultivating fruit and coffee trees, grazing cattle and accepting ecotourism.
Tropics 16(2), 75-85, 2007-03-01
JAPAN SOCIETY OF TROPICAL ECOLOGY