Why it matters

Thailand’s forests cover nearly 16 million hectares, or just under a third of the country. The highly diverse forest types range from tropical rainforest to dry dipterocarp forest, from upland evergreens to mangroves.

They are home to around 15,000 plant species, and endangered wildlife including tigers, elephants, tapirs, clouded leopards and hornbills.
 / ©: Justin Foster / WWF
Forest clearing for agriculture in Thailand.
© Justin Foster / WWF

Thailand’s forests

Since 1950, Thailand has lost more than half its natural forests. Although deforestation has slowed, it’s still estimated at 0.7% to 1% per year. Forest degradation is substantial too. Conversion to agriculture, illegal logging and land-tenure issues are major causes of forest loss.

Deforestation threatens biodiversity and the other vital environmental services that forests provide, such as clean water and preventing erosion and flooding. Worldwide, deforestation and forest degradation account for around one-fifth of all greenhouse gases contributed by humans.

Thailand and REDD+

REDD+ goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation, and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

Current approaches to measuring forest carbon in Thailand aren’t capable of delivering the level of accuracy required by REDD+ or by private sector voluntary carbon markets.

The Thai government, in consultation with the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and partners, is in the process of developing a “REDD readiness” proposal. Among other things, this includes the measures it intends to take to:
  • Measure and monitor carbon stored in forests
  • Ensure the benefits of REDD+ are shared fairly
  • Reduce emissions in a key biodiversity corridor
  • Build national capacity for REDD+
  • Collaborate with other Greater Mekong countries.
As in many tropical countries, understanding of REDD+, specialist skills and access to technology are lacking in many parts of Thailand.

Additionally, policy and planning often fail to take account of the multiple values of standing forests – such as biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services and climate change mitigation.

TREEMAPS will support Thailand to achieve its REDD+ -readiness aims, and to continue to design, run and benefit from projects to manage forests sustainably.
 / ©: WWF-Thailand / Justin Foster
Khao Yai National Park, Thailand
© WWF-Thailand / Justin Foster
 / ©: WWF-Thailand / Justin Foster
Khao Yai National Park, Thailand
© WWF-Thailand / Justin Foster

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