Puginier, Oliver: Hill tribes struggling for a land deal: Participatory land use planning in northern Thailand amid controversial policies



First of all, I would like to thank the villagers who always showed me great hospitality and invited me into their homes, and were prepared to discuss their way of life and problems with me in a very open manner. The revelation of land use information meant considerable risks for them, such as land confiscation and a return to official condemnation of their shifting cultivation systems. Many thanks are also due to the two interpreters, Chainalong for Karen and Jathor Kaboo for Lahu translations. Jathor, in particular, endured numerous uncomfortable long motorbike rides as a pillion passenger, yet he still had the patience to discuss things like a friend.

I would also like to thank the TG-HDP staff. Director Pittaya Jinawat and Team Leader Hagen Dirksen supported my research proposal from the beginning and later supplied me with a motorbike. Stephen Carson and Prasong Jantakad were very helpful in discussing the subject matter. The administrative staff Mattana Gosoomp, Apiwan Pansook and Sansanee Kangwanpong helped me in many logistical ways, and the field staff supported me in the field work. Thanks are also due to the ONCB Survey Section, particularly Pipop Chamnivikaipong (helicopter flights were a highlight), as well as the Provincial Office Mae Hong Son, the DLD, the RFD and the DPW, for whom my critical attitude was not always easy. I am grateful to Dr. Samran Sombatpanit from the DLD in Bangkok, for obtaining many necessary documents.

Thanks also to Chaichana Saengsawan for the GIS programme, CARE and ICRAF Thailand for discussions, and the three MSc students Tawatchai Rattanasorn, Rattasak Paengchata and Uwe Klimkeit. Great compliments are due to Wararat Bunnasakdi who did the most difficult Thai translations. Last but not least thanks to my supervisor Prof. Uwe-Jens Nagel for guiding me through my research jungle, and to the Tropical Ecological Support Programme of GTZ for funding the project. Thanks also to my mental mentor Prof. Matthias von Oppen, who many years ago inspired me to study tropical agriculture when he took me on field trips at ICRISAT in India as a teenager.

Conducting field research is a bit like playing, and the hard part comes later when it is time to clean up or write the thesis. In this difficult period my deepest appreciation goes to my parents and my sister for their continuous support and encouragement to continue. My temper was often hard to tolerate, yet they supported me persistently at a time when I had stopped to believe in myself and when there seemed to be no end in sight.

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