The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) will officially list phayung, or Siamese rosewood, on its protected Appendix II next week.
Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation deputy chief Theerapat Prayurasiddhi said Cites will officially register the phayung tree under its Appendix II next Wednesday.
Appendix II requires countries to regulate the trade of a species by issuing export permits to ensure its sustainability in the wild. Failure of Cites members to comply can result in sanctions.
Although it is illegal to log Siamese rosewood (Dalbergia cochinchinensis) in Thailand, it has been heavily logged for many years because of high demand from abroad. Until now, no curbs have applied on its overseas trade.
Listing phayung on Appendix II and creating the need for import licences and export permits for international trade of the species is expected to make it more difficult to sell the wood overseas. (Story continues below)
Mr Theerapat said the department has been working closely with the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry's Department of Agriculture to draft regulations governing import licences for the precious wood. It should take about four months to complete drafting the rules, he said.
"Although Thailand has no policy allowing the trade of the wood, requiring an import licence is very important for a destination country. If they don't have the licence, any trade they do with the wood will be illegal," he said.
Thailand and Vietnam listed Siamese rosewood in the Cites's Appendix II with consensus votes during the 16th Cites meeting held in Bangkok in March.
The protected list covers logs, sawn wood and veneer sheets.
Some observers believe more than half the precious wood in Thailand has been cut down, particularly by armed smugglers from Cambodia. The encroachment is particularly serious in the lower Northeast and in part of the Khao Yai-Dong Phayayen forest complex, a World Heritage site covering parts of Nakhon Ratchasima, Saraburi, Nakhon Nayok, Prachin Buri, Sa Kaeo and Buri Ram.
The World Heritage Committee had also raised concern over the issue of the international trade of phayung, seeking an explanation from Thai authorities for the heavy logging of the trees.
Mr Theerapat said his team will submit their explanation to the World Heritage Committee at its next meeting, to be held in Cambodia from June 16-27.
A group of villagers from Yasothon's Maha Chana Chai district Tuesday turned up at parliament to raise awareness of illegal logging in a community forest.
The group, led by Nonsai tambon administrative organisation vice-chairman Korn Sirinam, alleged state officials and community leaders aided the poachers.
Mr Korn said the officials entered the forest in tambon Nonsai on May 27 and with the help of a group of village leaders they had phayung trees chopped down.
Mr Korn said the officials offered to pay 700,000 baht per tree and the village leaders claimed they would use the money to renovate a shrine in the village.
He said one of the officials had been accused of felling phayung trees to use the wood to build a house.
Mr Korn said the trees were felled over the past three months. The number of trees had decreased from dozens to just 18, he said.
The villagers will lodge a complaint with the Prime Minister's Office, the Interior Ministry and the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry today.
About the author
Writer: Apinya Wipatayotin & Mongkol Bangprapa