Open letter to your Excellency Minister of Agriculture and Cooperation General Chatchai Sarikalaya | WWF

Open letter to your Excellency Minister of Agriculture and Cooperation General Chatchai Sarikalaya

Posted on 06 September 2016
One of several tigers captured in Mae Wong forest, western Thailand, May 2012
© Thailand Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation / WWF Thailand
Referring to a news article in the Post Today newspaper dated September 2, 2016 about how the government is looking at potentially using Article 44 to proceed with building of the Mae Wong dam in Mae Wong district, Nakhon Sawan province. WWF-Thailand, in its capacity as an international environmental organization working to conserve natural resources is very concerned with the idea to proceed with the Mae Wong dam. A dam at Mae Wong would irreparably damage one of Thailand’s most important forests and wetlands and would have negative impacts on both people and wildlife.
 
WWF-Thailand would like to bring a few points to your consideration:
  1. Building a dam is not the best water management methodology. WWF-Thailand would like to request the government to seek a proper water management solution that is suitable for solving the water problem at hand and at the same time, protect the Mae Wong forest. Solutions such as “Monkey Cheeks” detention basins or "Clustered Check Dams” should be considered. Comparisons should be made to measure the possible benefits of building the dam versus the loss to the ecosystem. 
  2. Mae Wong is a critical and strategic area for ecosystem, forest, and wildlife conservation based on the facts below:
           2.1) The Mae Wong forest connects the upper and lower Western Forest Complex and this whole area should be managed as a natural forest watershed to supply the upper Chao Phraya river basin and the Mae Klong river basin.

           2.2) Mae Wong contains natural teak forest, one of only two such forests left in Thailand. Building Mae Wong dam would irreversibly destroy this important natural resource that is a national heritage to all Thai people.

           2.3) Mae Wong forest is important for its unique lowland riverine habitat, which is crucial to the survival of many rare wildlife species. There are not many of these landscapes left in Thailand and they should be protected and managed for future generations.

           2.4) Mae Wong forest is a great example of successful tiger conservation in Thailand. This is one of only a few places in the world where the tiger population is increasing. This is a great achievement for Thailand and helps the Thai government fulfil its international commitment to global tiger conservation. The tiger is an indicator of a healthy ecosystem. If tiger conservation is successful, this protects other species and the whole ecosystem, thus providing many benefits for human communities.
  1. The Thai government has always supported natural resource conservation such as forest conservation, reforestation of deforested mountains, and wildlife conservation. WWF-Thailand maintains our hope that the Thai government will keep its commitment and vision to conserve our country’s natural resources and will not elect to use Article 44 to approve the construction Mae Wong dam.
WWF-Thailand, therefore, issues this open letter directly to Your Excellency to request that you not consider using Article 44 to approve Mae Wong dam construction and all other projects with destructive effects on the environment. 
One of several tigers captured in Mae Wong forest, western Thailand, May 2012
© Thailand Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation / WWF Thailand Enlarge

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