Forest locals need a voice | Bangkok Post: opinion

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Forest locals need a voice

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In an apparent move to prove that a military regime can do what civilian governments could not, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has announced that it will increase the country's forest cover from 33.4% to 40% during its tenure. 

This should not come as a surprise. After the 1991 putsch, coup leader Gen Suchinda Kraprayoon also had the same plan. Deforestation has always been defined as a national security threat and forest encroachers as national security enemies. When civilian governments lack the political will to stop deforestation, the military wants to show it is different.

Here's one glitch. Both the army and civilian governments subscribe to the forest authorities' definition of forest as wilderness free of inhabitants. But tropical forests have always been home to indigenous highlanders and farm communities.

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