Nationwide reforestation starts

Nationwide reforestation starts

Goal is to increase forest cover by about 3% over seven years

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, centre, inaugurates a nationwide reforestation project at the Namtok Buatong-Namphu Jed-si National Park in Mae Taeng district of Chiang Mai on Friday. (Government House photo)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, centre, inaugurates a nationwide reforestation project at the Namtok Buatong-Namphu Jed-si National Park in Mae Taeng district of Chiang Mai on Friday. (Government House photo)

CHIANG MAI: The government on Friday started a nationwide reforestation project in this northern province, intending to expand forest land by at least 2.68 million rai or nearly 3% over seven years.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha attended the kick-off of the project, aimed at preventing wildfires and improving the environment. He was joined by other ministers, provincial governors and about 1,000 other people at Namtok Buatong-Namphu Jed-si National Park in Mae Taeng district.

The Royal Initiative Volunteer Project Operations Centre will take the lead in carrying out the three-phase project. It will work with the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, the Interior and Defence ministries.

The first phase, to be completed by Tuesday to celebrate the birthday of His Majesty the King, will involve at least 7,100 rai nationwide including 1,010 rai plus water-conserving weirs in Chiang Mai, Tak, Nan, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum and Nakhon Si Thammarat provinces.

The second and third phases will run from this year to 2027.

Prime Minister Prayut said project implementation must not affect people’s livelihoods and that participants must not let the newly planted trees die. He also proposed more bamboo and trees with high economic value be planted.

Deforestation in catchment areas has been the root cause of flooding and drought in the past few years, he said.

As of 2018, forest areas covered 102.49 million rai, forming about 32% of the country’s area, according to the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency.


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