In the late 1980s, increasingly aware of the adverse effects of the rapid decline of its natural forest resources, the Government of Thailand imposed a logging ban in all natural forests. Together with the depletion of forest resources, the ban led to a drop in domestic supply. The Government therefore looked for ways to involve the private sector and in particular local communities in generating alternative wood supplies. Nonetheless, up until recently, even if Thai people could grow commercial trees on the land they own, forest laws prohibited them from cutting and transporting important timber species unless their land was registered, inspected and local authorities informed before harvests.
Changes introduced in 2019 in the law governing forestry may finally promote reforestation efforts.
Mongkol Wandee, a carpenter of the Lampang province in Thailand, explains: “Thirty years ago, my father planted teak trees, resin trees and rain trees on his land. His idea was to ensure that our family could use them for additional income, but so far we have not been able to sell them.”
Wandee constructs wooden houses and makes furniture. His wife works as a nurse assistant in the capital Bangkok, 600 kilometres away from their home. The couple’s combined income takes care of their family of six, supplemented by selling the coffee, longan and mangos that grow on the family’s land.