Restoration of degraded forest land in Thailand: the case of Khao Kho
This chapter discusses the deforestation of Khao Kho district, situated in Thailand’s central highlands, in the 1970s and restoration efforts in the 1990s. Over 75% of the district was forested until 1968, when as a counterinsurgency strategy the Royal Thai Army began to build roads, deforest the district and encourage agricultural settlement in this heretofore intact forest. Deforestation and maize cultivation on these steep hillsides, often with already-poor soil quality degraded in situ, led to rapid degradation with farming untenable by 1990. A UNDP-funded reforestation project – managed by the Army – was initiated in 1990.
Research goals & methods
After initial failures of monocultural plantation-style reforestation due to inappropriate planting methods and local opposition, the project sought a more holistic approach based on variations in site condition and the needs of the local population. In the new phase, preference was shown for indigenous species, nitrogen-fixing species, and fast-growing pioneer species with variation by elevation, slope, soil moisture availability, and human pressure. Plantings followed contour and fruit-bearing species were chosen for roadsides and areas bordering human settlements. Areas were set-aside for agricultural use.
Conclusions & takeaways
Ten years after the second reforestation effort, outbreak of fires and human encroachment dropped noticeably. Additional natural recruits were present, especially near remnant forest patches.
Marghescu, T. 2001. Restoration of degraded forest land in Thailand: the case of Khao Kho, Unasylva, vol. 52, no. 207, pp. 52-54.
- Food and Agricultural Organization