Thai Island proposed to be International Wetland
Ms. Nirawan Pipitsombut, from Environmental Research 8, Natural Resources and Environmental Management Division of ONEP, explains that various organizations such as the Deaprtment of Marine and Co...
Ms. Nirawan Pipitsombut, from Environmental Research 8, Natural Resources and Environmental Management Division of ONEP, explains that various organizations such as the Deaprtment of Marine and Coastal Resources and Sueb Nakhasathien Foundation have surveyed the state of the site, as well as collected biodiversity data, which led to clarity on the site’s value and importance. Phrathong Island community have already been involved in protecting the natural resources for a number of years, so the designation of the island as an international wetlands, came as no surprise and now formalises an already successful partnership with ONEP.
Mr. Hannarong Yaowalert notes how Ra-Phrathong Island could be considered as an exceptional case as most wetlands in Thailand are under the care of the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department; Ra-Phrathong Island, on the other hand, is managed by the local community.
Mr. Nuay Sinsub, the head of Bahn Tung Kahb community, explains that the community have cared for the natural resources through numerous activities such as establishing a community mangrove forest and conserving Sambar deer, hornbills and the Lesser Adjutant. Ra-Phrathong Island has also been site for research on aquatic and terrestrial animals as well as in the fields of geology.
Mr. Bunsha Kohsakul proposed that in announcing Ra-Phrathong Island as an international wetland; as long as it does not conflict with the current local way of life, then there should be no problem. It is more important to build understanding and cooperation with the community and public as well as with the local administrative offices. “We have to take into consideration the thoughts of Kuraburi district and clarity has to be made about the loss and benefits for the locals. Building such understanding may be difficult as currently, the locals do not trust the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department in declaring Ra-Phrathong Island a National Park; the community feels this will affect their livelihoods, which currently highly depend on the natural resources”.
After seeking consultation concerning the future of the island, the survey team continued observation in the grasslands and swamps, as well as paid a visit to the Plant and Orchid Species Conservation Project before returning home.