Unesco forest deemed not endangered, despite threats

Unesco forest deemed not endangered, despite threats

The Unesco World Heritage Committee has decided to keep the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai forest complex off the list of endangered sites, said the head of the Thai delegation attending the World Heritage Committee meeting in Turkey.

Sihasak Phuangketkeow, Thailand's permanent representative to Unesco and head of the delegation attending the 40th meeting in Istanbul, said the meeting has ruled in Thailand's favour not to put the eastern forest complex on the crisis list.

Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai forest, which spreads over a distance of 230km, from Khao Yai National Park to Ta Phraya National Park on the Cambodian border, is under serious threat of illegal logging, poaching, infrastructure development and encroachment.

The area, listed as a world heritage site in 2005, is rich in phayung, or Siamese rosewood. Mr Sihasak, also Thai ambassador to France, said the delegation has informed the committee of actions and measures taken by Thai authorities to address illegal activities.

Thailand has made significant progress in tackling the problems since it forwarded a report to the committee in February, he said.

The authorities have stepped up a crackdown on encroachment and cancelled infrastructure development projects. The government is working with Cambodia to tackle illegal logging, he added.

"The delegation has proposed that the old information is not adequate to evaluate the status and suggested that International Union for Conservation of Nature send a committee to make an inspection."

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