News and Announcements / News and Announcements

The Rockefeller Foundation & Mae Fah Luang Foundation Pilot Remote Sensing Technology To Protect Forests in Thailand’s DTDP Area

Representatives from The Rockefeller Foundation and The Mae Fah Luang Foundation at the kick-off meeting in Bangkok.

~ The Mae Fah Luang Foundation under Royal Patronage (MFLF) launches a pioneering remote sensing technology development in the coffee plantations to control an expansion of economic forest, thus protecting biodiversity and ensuring the integrity of carbon credit measurements.

~ The Rockefeller Foundation supports the initiative with a USD 200,000 grant aimed at enhancing applied remote sensing to preserve conservation forest areas.

CHIANG RAI, THAILAND | June 13, 2024 ― The Rockefeller Foundation has awarded the Mae Fah Luang Foundation under the Royal Patronage (MFLF) with a USD 200,000 grant to develop remote sensing technology that monitors forest encroachment and advance a model that can be applied and scaled to other regions. Initially deploying this technology to monitor coffee plantations in the Doi Tung Development Project (DTDP) area, a mountainous region in the Thai highlands of Chiang Rai, the MFLF will manage shade-grown coffee farms, monitor the expansion of economic forests to ensure the mitigation of forest encroachment, and improve the integrity of its carbon credit project, which is the largest nature-based carbon credit project in Thailand.

“Our support for MFLF’s remote sensing technology exemplifies our commitment to empowering communities at the forefront of climate action. By leveraging emerging technologies, this initiative aims to benefit such communities, strengthen local leadership, catalyze a vibrant carbon market, and set a new standard for high-integrity carbon credits,” said Deepali Khanna, Vice President, Asia Regional Office, The Rockefeller Foundation.

Through this grant, MFLF will develop of a field-tested application in the DTDP area, which includes 29 villages and its 12,682 residents, that will also serve as a platform for others to use to enhance accuracy in differentiating economic and conservation forests. Because coffee trees are commonly grown under shade, it can be difficult to prevent the expansion of coffee farms into protected forests, thereby destroying the biodiversity. In the long run, this technology could protect conservation forests, leading to the preservation of natural habitats, and prevent the valuable biodiversity loss in the DTDP area. In addition, with the ability to separate between economic and conservation forests, the DTDP can ensure the integrity of its carbon credit program.

The MFLF team will also engage coffee-growing communities to support the deployment of remote sensing techniques and the development of community-led solutions for forest conservation. Ultimately, this will reduce project development costs, enhance forest conservation efforts, and generate sustainable revenue for communities. MFLF plans to share this technology to other communities outside DTDP area to scale forest conservation initiatives nationwide.

The Mae Fah Luang Foundation has over 50 years of experience in area-based sustainable development, including reforestation and forest conservation. MFLF’s latest project, Community Forest for Carbon Credit, helped communities sell their carbon credit from forest protection activities in exchange for funding support from private sectors. The project distributed over 60% of private sectors payment directly to the community. Over the past four years, MFLF has registered approximately 50,000 hectares of community forest with Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization (TGO), the country carbon credit registry system, making them the largest nature-based carbon credit project in the country.

Learnings from MFLF’s work with remote sensing technology at community-led projects will be shared through case studies and other activities, to facilitate transfer to other geographies and crop types. This grant reflects The Rockefeller Foundation’s commitment to partnering with organizations that demonstrate leadership and impact in climate action and community empowerment marking a significant step towards a more equitable and robust carbon market in Southeast Asia. The Rockefeller Foundation’s broader climate strategy focuses on transforming systems in food, health, energy, and finance to address the climate crisis. This approach showcases how emerging technologies can enhance market access for community-led initiatives and contribute to a just transition.

For more information about the Mae Fah Luang Foundation’s initiatives and The Rockefeller Foundation’s climate work, please visit and

About The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy built on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology, and innovation that enable individuals, families, and communities to flourish. We make big bets to promote the well-being of humanity. Today, we are focused on advancing human opportunity and reversing the climate crisis by transforming systems in food, health, energy, and finance. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at and follow us on X @RockefellerFdn and LI @the-rockefeller-foundation.

About Mae Fah Luang Foundation

The Mae Fah Luang Foundation under Royal Patronage aims to develop communities, society, environment, and cultures following the work of the Princess Mother in order to create happiness, sustainability, and stability. The Mae Fah Luang Foundation believes that “people” are both the root cause and the solution of social and environmental problems. We therefore begin with human development, since “no one wants to be bad, they just don’t have the opportunity to be good.”

Gurpratap Singh

The Rockefeller Foundation