Overview of Forest Sector

With forests covering nearly 32% of its total land area that are home to nearly 8% of all the world’s plant species, Thailand is one of the most bio-diverse and forest-resource rich countries in southeast Asia [1][2]. Encompassing 16.38 million ha, Thailand’s forests are primarily evergreen and deciduous with mixed deciduous types covering 14.59% of the total forest area, the largest percentage among those that are prominent. Dry evergreen (4.30%), moist evergreen (3.68%), dry dipterocarp (3.67%), montane (3.38%), and mangrove (0.48%) are also notable [3]. Though most forest areas are in the northern region (52.46%), they are located countrywide as the central (33.16%), south (24.33%), east (22.40%) and northeastern regions (15.03%) all enjoy the forests and their benefits [1]. 

The resources provided by these expansive areas play a significant role in providing ecosystem services while also enhancing the well-being of those who utilize them. Forest biodiversity yields provisioning services such as food, medicine and fresh water, among others, and presents opportunities for households to generate basic or supplemental income. Regulating these ecosystem processes also contributes to air and soil quality, windstorm protection and pest and disease control. Also provided is the support of culture, traditions, beliefs, religions, local wisdom, recreation and ecotourism for which the forests are used.

In 2019, during the 12th National Economic and Social Development Plan (2017-2021), Thailand reaffirmed the goal originally put forth in a 1985 policy declaration of maintaining at least 40% of the country’s total area as forests and changed the goal to 25% conservation forests and 15% economic forests [4][5][6]. In the Paris Agreement of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), Thailand also announced its intention to reduce emissions by 20% by year 2030 [7]. These policies present significant challenges as Thailand pursues national goals toward sustainability of forest management.

Forest management is presently regulated nationwide by legislation such as the Forest Act B.E. 2484 (1941), National Reserved Forest Act B.E. 2507 (1964), Forest Plantation Act B.E. (2535) 1992, Chainsaw Act B.E. (2545) 2002, National Park Act B.E. (2562) 2019, Wild Animal Conservation and Protected Area Act, B.E. (2562) 2019, and the Community Forest Act B.E. (2562) 2019.

The Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment (MONRE) and three of its subsidiary organizations are responsible for the management of Thailand’s forest sector. The Royal Forest Department (RFD) manages reserved forests that are outside protected areas, the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) manages protected areas such as national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, arboretums, and forest parks, while The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMC) has authority over the mangrove forests outside protected areas.

Currently, Thailand’s forest management policy focuses on enhancing participation at the local level while balancing the environmental, social and economic benefits of utilization of forest resources with the impact on ecosystem services. In addition, the government’s approach includes collaboration with other Asian countries and in other regions in pursuit of new knowledge toward sustainable forest management.

[1] RFD. 2020. Forest statistics data. RFD: Bangkok.
[2] ONEP. 2009. Thailand: National report on the implementation of the convention on biological diversity. ONEP, Bangkok, p 76.
[3] RFD. 2018. Executive summary. RFD: Bangkok.
[4] Thai Government. 1985. National forest policy. Bangkok.
[5] Thai Government. 2019. National forest policy. Bangkok.
[6] NESDB. 2017. The 12th national economic and social development plan (2017-2021). NESDB: Bangkok.
[7] ONEP. 2018. Second biennial update report of Thailand. Second biennial update report of Thailand. ONEP: Bangkok.

Forest Policy Archive

DATETYPETITLEENGLISHNATIONAL LANGUAGE
2021ReportCommunity Forest Project Approval between 2000 –PresentLink
2020Strategy/PlanThailand's Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the UNFCCCLink
2020ReportForest Statistics Data 2020LinkLink
2019LawCommunity Forest Act, B.E. 2562 (2019)Link
2019LawWild Animal Conservation and Protection Act, B.E.2562 (2019)LinkLink
2019PolicyNational Forest Policy 2019Link
2019LawNational Park Act, B.E.2562(2019)LinkLink
2018ReportForest Classification Executive Summary 2018Link
2018ReportSecond Biennial Update Report of ThailandLink
2016LawNational Reserved Forests Act (No.4), B.E. 2559 (2016)LinkLink
2016Strategy/PlanThailand's National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP)Link
2015LawElephant Ivory Tusks Act, B.E. 2558 (2015)LinkLink
2009ReportForestry in ThailandLink
2002LawChain Saws Act, B.E. 2545 (2002)LinkLink
1992LawWildlife Preservation and Protection Act B.E. 2535 (1992)LinkLink
1992LawForest Plantation Act B.E. 2535 (1992)LinkLink
1985PolicyNational Forest Policy 1985Link
1964LawNational Reserved Forest Act, B.E. 2507 (1964)LinkLink
1961L