Land plan draws on HM's advice

Land plan draws on HM's advice

Nakhon Si Thammarat: A mangrove forest project backed by the King in Chanthaburi's Ao Kung Krabane will serve as a role model for a pilot project on land management for the poor in Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Mingquan Witchayaransarit, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said the new project involves managing 12,618 rai of mangrove forest in Nakhon Si Thammarat.

The Department of Marine and Coastal Resources will run the scheme, drawing on lessons learned from the royal initiative in Ao Kung Krabane, which also involved mangrove forests.

The 12,618 rai represent reclaimed forest land drawn from 357 shrimp farms that encroached on the forest land in tambon Pakpaya in Muang district, she said.

The ministry has been working closely with Kasetsart University to zone the mangrove areas for forest conservation and an economic zone, she said.

A buffer zone has also been set up to prevent coastal erosion hitting the province.

Nakhon Si Thammarat is under threat of forest encroachment, she said. She hoped the project would set a good example for mangrove management in other provinces.

The province was once the country's largest area of mangrove forest, with about 400,000 rai in 1961.

The department will submit the suggested mangrove area to the national land policy committee, which is under the Ministry of Interior.

That ministry will also select the poor people who will be invited to earn a living in the zone.

The mangrove land will be provided to the community and a cooperative set up to manage the land. No individual land rights will be granted, to prevent land rights transfers to outsiders, she said.

The department's chief Chonlatid Suraswadi said farmers were cooperating with the forest reclamation scheme. He said 6,800 rai of the reclaimed land will be allocated to the poor who will work on environmentally-friendly fish and shrimp farms.

The other 5,818 will be put under the mangrove rehabilitation programme where it will be returned to a marine life nursery and ecological system to maintain a food bank in the community.

He said the department will apply the lessons learned from Ao Kung Krabane in Chanthaburi province. The royal project divides mangrove forest into conservation and economic zones.

He said the land model will be employed in other provinces but the department plans to write up guidelines on mangrove forest use and evaluate the project before expanding it.

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