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Forest fantasy

Re: "Reforestation rethink required", (BP, July 24).

The Royal Thai Army's use of helicopters and airplanes to drop tree seeds from the sky is nothing more than a feel-good fantasy approach to reforestation.

Aside from the matter of selecting an inappropriate invasive non-native tree species for their scheme, the idea that reforestation can be successfully accomplished from afar, by dropping seeds from the air, is extremely naïve.

Forest restoration will only succeed with the full support and involvement of local people.

It's simply not possible to bomb denuded areas into forested submission by dropping seeds from helicopters or drones.

If people on the ground have no stake in protecting and nurturing the young trees, the survival rate will be close to zero.

Forestry officials, well-intentioned corporations and individuals, and NGOs can't just plant tree seedlings and walk away. Saplings need care and protection against wildfires, grazing livestock, and clearing for agricultural crops.

Indeed, forest restoration has to be viewed as a long-term endeavour, fully engaging local people and providing direct benefits to them in ways that make the growing of trees more attractive and lucrative than destroying them.

Samanea Saman

Online truancy

Re: "Live and learn", (BP, July 30).

While I actually did agree with a number of the points Kuldeep Nagi underscored in his letter, he's clearly ignoring all the glaring problems which have turned many parents against almost any online learning.

Now, yes, it is true that all these online platforms do provide a new gateway to some kind of education. It is also true that online learning can work well at young ages when children are easy to entertain with muppets, and, yes, a modest percentage of unusually motivated older students do make use of the increased access to some of the smartest minds in the world.

However, many schools are finding that most unsupervised teenagers and university students routinely engage in vices rather than engage in their studies as no teacher is standing there to correct them. Additionally, YouTube videos and online game learning often only amount to "surface learning". Deep learning still tends to come from books, journals and a traditional academic environment (face-to-face classes).

Clearly, there is room for both traditional and online instruction. But online education has (overall) gone so poorly that my university is ending all online classes effective Aug 23. My school is a very fine university and taught online fairly well; yet we still found that "virtual learning" meant most/many of our students learned "virtually nothing" and, in a very responsible and carefully weighed decision, my Thai university is ending all online learning within weeks.

Jason A Jellison

Courting conflict

Re: "Forest justice must be for all", (Editorial, July 29).

Regarding a ruling by Chiang Mai's administrative court dismissing a controversial case involving houses and residential buildings for judicial staff built over 147 rai of land at the foot of Doi Suthep mountain.

The housing project was proposed by the Appeal Court Region 5 which is under the Court of Justice not the Administration Court as quoted. They have their own president, separate jurisdiction and are independent.

The verdict from Chiang Mai court doesn't whitewash the conflict between a civic network and another Administrative Court under the same roof.

James Debentures


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