Mangrove area in the past

The first mangrove survey was done in 1961. It was found that there were about 2,299,375 rai of the mangrove forest and had being continuously decreased, while the population had also been increasing. Also, the government allowed concession for mangrove forest to private sector to operate timber industries. Since then, the mangrove forest has been changed and declined due to the different utilizations including aquacultures, shrimp farming, salt fields, communities, tourism and industries. During 1979-1987, the large mangrove areas, especially in the Gulf of Thailand from Trat to Pattani Province, was cleared and changed to tiger prawn farming because the farmer obtained a high economic benefit from such farming. It was found that the mangrove forest were cut for 567,001 rai. In 1996, it was found that the remaining area of the mangrove forest was only 1,047,390 rai. Later, the tiger prawn farming was decreased because of the deterioration of coastal environments as well as the high fluctuation of the market price. Consequently, the farmers stopped running their farms, many farms were turned into unoccupied areas. However, the mangrove were still encroached for residences, agriculture and tourism purposes. Nevertheless, approximately 1,000 coastal villages still need the mangroves for their livelihoods such as coastal fishery and producing wooden household stuffs. The state of mangroves can be classified in consideration of geographic conditions, way of lives, and culture as follows:

The mangroves that are still healthy, but some of the mangrove areas are resided and utilized by the human. These mangroves are found in the coasts of Andaman Sea covering Ranong, Phang Nga, Krabi, Tang, Satun, and Phuket Province. Currently, the remaining area of mangroves is quite small; most of them are protected by the National Park Law since these areas are situated in the national parks’ boundary such as Phang Nga National Parks etc.

The mangroves that are invaded by people for shrimp farming, mostly found in the mangrove of the Eastern Gulf of Thailand covering Rayong and Chantaburi Province, the western Gulf of Thailand covering Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat Province.

The mangrove areas with title deeds where the mangrove plantations had previously been occupied in the area and later the areas were turned to shrimp farming for the higher profit, while some may be sold to the private sector. At present, the areas in the Upper Gulf of Thailand are facing with coastal erosion problems covering Chachoengsao, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, and Phetchaburi.

According to the statistics of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (Table 2), the mangrove area of Thailand in 1961 was only 2,299,375 rai or 0.72 percent of Thailand’s area. In 25 years later, the mangrove forest were rapidly reduced. According to the survey in 1986, Thailand had only 1,220,000 rai of mangrove left, or almost a half of the national mangrove. The mangrove forest had been reduced and encroached continuously. In 1991, there was only 1,076,250 rai or 0.33 percent of the country’s area, equivalent to the damaged area of 1,223,125 rai or 54 %, compared to the year 1961, and there was only 1,047,781.25 rai left in 1996. However, after 1996, the mangrove areas had been increased because of the policy on mangrove restoration such as mangrove plantation and reduction of mangrove forest encroachment. So, the mangrove forest were increased for 1,578,750 and 1,490,262.5 rai in 2003 and 2004, respectively, which more than the expected value of the Ninth National Economic and Social Development Plan (2002 – 2006) written that all national mangrove areas should be over 1,250,000 rai. Considering the change of mangrove areas by each province during 1975 – 1993, it was found that Chonburi Province had a highest declining rate of mangrove area (about 5.42 percents per year) resulting from the economic expansion, especially, the coastal development for tourism.

 

Table  The areas of mangrove in Thailand during 1961 -2009

Unit: Square kilometers

Provinces

19611

19752

19792

19862

19892

19912

19962

20002

20042

20093

Gulf of Thailand

1,365

1,213.36

1,061.12

489.98

390.82

238.58

347.59

712.10

648.06

672.27

Trat

129

106

98.4

88.18

86.35

77.50

75.34

95.17

108.01

99.16

Chantaburi

154

261

240.64

145.42

86.96

26.95

38.93

125.73

117.94

120.69

Rayong

17

55

46.08

24.18

17.58

1.54

6.56

18.82

13.93

18.05

Chonburi

-

38

4.32

14.98

8.93

1.50

0.92

7.14

7.22

8.89

Chachoengsao

-

30

23.2

7.4

5.69

3.67

4.83

17.47

12.50

11.69

Samut Prakan

-

6

8.8

1.03

-

-

2.97

11.55

14.66

20.04

Bangkok

-

-

-

-

-

-

1.98

5.20

4.06

5.36

Samut Sakhon

-

185

144.16

1.42

-

-

16.96

30.80

23.85

40.41

Samut Songkhram

-

82

76.48

0.49

-

-

11.45

25.53

22.58

22.84

Phetchaburi

22

88

77.92

5.77

4.89

3.36

20.70

30.67

10.48

29.71

Prachuap Khiri Khan

11

4.16

3.36

1.45

1.10

0.70

0.43

5.00

4.33

2.73

Prachuap Khiri Khan

11

4.16

3.36

1.45

1.10

0.70

0.43

5.00

4.33

2.73

Chumporn

81

74

69.28

36.29

22.65

18.18

31.84

72.47

64.86

51.58

Surat Thani

256

37

58.08

42.84

37.67

22.04

31.82

93.00

52.02

74.52

Nakhon Si Thammarat

612

155

128.32

88.36

93.21

80.25

84.16

94.20

140.96

117.68

Pattalung

14

19

16.32

1.04

1.32

0.60

1.41

2.17

3.27

0.64

Songkhla

13

59

51.84

12.85

6.88

2.29

6.23

34.89

10.23

12.79

Pattani

56

14.2

13.92

18.28

17.59

-

11.05

42.30

37.17

35.19

Narathiwat

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

0.30

Andaman Sea

2,314

1,936.2

1,781.56

1,461.96

1,421.69

1,483.51

1,328.86

1,813.82

1,736.36

1,767.83

Ranong

306

258

225.92

216.14

211.77

194.70

192.37

272.54

253.35

247.12

Phang Nga

574

511

487.16

364.20

356.29

335.10

304.42

420.38

434.60

440.51

Phuket

45

31

28.48

19.35

17.86

15.54

15.12

18.76

16.95

19.72

Krabi

537

333.2

317.6

303.12

296.43

319.15

282.55

350.94

358.75

349.10

Trang

390

340

330.24

246.76

250.40

308.49

240.95

357.88

327.43

353.56

Satun

462

463

392.16

312.39

288.93

310.53

293.44

393.32

345.28

357.82

Total

3,679

3,149.56

2,842.68

1,951.94

1,812.51

1,722.09

1,676.45

2,525.92

2,384.42

2,440.10

Sources: 1 Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (2006),

              2 Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (2007),

              3 http://www.dmcr.go.th/marinecenter/mangrove/mangrove_report.html

Remarks:  1 square kilometer equals 625 rai

 

Currently, the trends on forest conservation are increasing in both private and public sectors, especially the Mangrove Plantation Project in Honor of Her Majesty the Queen Sirikit in the Auspicious Occasion of the 72nd Birthday Anniversary. The project was conducted by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources during 2004-2008, has increased hundred thousand rai of mangrove forest. The Office of Mangrove Conservation has investigated the status of mangrove forest in Thailand during 2006 – 2011. It was found that the general status of mangrove was in good condition enhancing healthy coastal ecosystem and biodiversity.  Consequently, the function of mangrove in terms of the food source for juvenile aquatic organisms is at the acceptable level. These mangrove areas should be strictly conserved and prevented from encroachment by applying the theories of forest management in mangrove administration, continuously monitoring and adopting the relevant policies for decision making process. The implementation should be appropriate for the conditions of each area and focused on the public participation of all sectors to conserve mangrove forest and to develop the uses of mangrove forest with appropriateness, sustainability, and equality that the relevant laws and regulations may be applied.   

The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources has reported the status of the mangrove forest in Thailand, classified the mangrove into 6 regions based on the geography and the similarity of the plant community as the Eastern Gulf of Thailand covering Trat, Chantaburi, Rayong, and Chonburi Province; the Upper Gulf of Thailand covering Phetchaburi, Samut Songkhram, Samut Sakhon, Bangkok, and Samut Prakan Province; the Central Gulf of Thailand covering Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumporn, Surat Thani, and Nakhon Si Thammarat Province; the Lower Gulf of Thailand covering Pattalung, Songkhla, Pattani, and Narathiwat Province; the Upper Andaman Sea covering Ranong, Phang Nga, and Phuket; and Lower Andaman Sea covering Trang and Satun Province. The status of mangrove can be summarized by each regions as the followings (Department of Marine and Coastal Resource, 2555b):