The Restoration of Degraded Forest Ecosystems in the Southeast Asian Tropical Regions was a flagship ASEAN project supported by Republic of Korea (ROK). The 1st phase commenced in 1 July 2000 and ended on 30 June 2005 with a budget of US $ 2.45 million. The goal of the project was to contribute to the sustainable and equitable forest management and rehabilitation of deforested areas in the tropical forest ecosystems of ASEAN Member Countries through partnership in research, capacity building and sharing of scientific and technical information. This project was coordinated by the National Instrumentation Centre for Environmental Management (NICEM), College of Agriculture and Life Sciences of Seoul National University, and involved approximately 20 institutions in ROK and ASEAN.
Major activities of the project included:
- Regional research activities on forest ecosystems in member countries on issues of relevance to them.
- On-site field research in particular in the Philippines dealing with 3 major research themes: restoration, agroforestry and biodiversity.
- An education programme which includes a graduate programme, short-term individual and group training courses in various institutions in ROK; and
- Workshops and conferences on related topics to provide opportunities for participating researchers to improve scientific research skills and to share in-depth knowledge of tropical forests through the exchange of experiences and site visits.
Upon the completion of the project and in order to capitalise on the strong momentum gained, the ROK agreed to further expand and support the project for another 3 years (Phase II: 1 July 2006 – 30 June 2008). The main goal of Phase II is ‘to consolidate and strengthen the collaborative research mechanism dealing with regional as well as global concerns on sustainable forest management’. This will be also achieved through collaborative partnership in research, capacity building, and sharing of scientific and technical information.