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INTRODUCTION

HISTORY

         In 1987, Mahasarakham University (Srinakarinwirot University, Maha Sarakham Campus), in collaboration with the provincial government, initiated a project to conserve indigenous knowledge of Isaan (Northeast of Thailand) through the establishment of the Isaan Botanical Garden and Information Center.The initial implementation of the project started at Ban Kerng, located approximately 6 kilometers from Maha Sarakham City, which later becomes one of our research stations. Later, H.R. Princess Chulabhornwalailuk named the garden “Walai Rukhavej Botanical Garden” on the 28th of September 1988. Due to the success of this project, the provincial government of Maha Sarakham and Mahasarakham University extended the project to Amphoe Na Dun, located some 65 kilometers to the south of Maha Sarakham city, on a 104-hectare land in the east of Na Dun Pagoda. The major source of funding came from His Majesty the King’s project known as”Green Isaan”, with a total budget of 20 million baht. Later, Walai Rukhavej Botanical Garden has become part of Mahasarakham University, which appellation was graciously conferred by H.R.H. Princess Chulabhornwalailuk to “Walai Rukhavej Botanical Research Institute (WRBRI)” on the 22nd of October 1992. During almost two decades of efforts and learning, WRBRI has expanded the scope of its research, from exploring local useful plants and identifying plant communities to deeper understanding of ecological systems and biodiversity in our region. The institute also has improved its research methodology, from pure botanical approach to integrated approach by bringing socioeconomic and geographic perspectives together. Currently, WRBRI has strengthened its capacity to be an excellent center of investigating cultural and biological diversity through academic research. One of those achievements included the establishment of “Ph. D. (Biodiversity) Program” in 2004.