Thailand’s DNP refutes Khao Yai National Park farmland claims

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

Claims to farmland within Khao Yai National Park were strongly refuted yesterday by Thailand’s Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP). This came in response to a recent announcement by the Agricultural Land Reform Office (Alro) that approximately 2,933 rai of land within Pak Chong district, a Unesco World Heritage site area, have been designated as agricultural land for farmers.

DNP’s director-general, Athapol Charoenshunsa, stressed that Sor Por Kor land entitlements cannot be granted to land identified as a national park area. His comments followed an on-site visit to the disputed area, alongside a team from the DNP.

The team revealed that park authorities reclaimed a plot of land in the eighth National Park Management Area in July last year, previously occupied by a private party. Further instances of wrongful occupancy within the national park’s land were reported in August. On January 9, it was discovered that seven Sor Por Kor documents had been issued for over seven rai of land within the park, reported Bangkok Post.

The head of Khao Yai National Park, Chaiya Huayhongthong, has written to Alro to protest against the landmarking and has demanded the removal of boundary markers from the park. Chaiya has also requested information regarding the issuance of Sor Por Kor rights documents but is yet to receive a response.

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A joint investigation by the national park office chief and the Phaya Sue task force is currently ongoing. Chaiya highlighted that the decree on agricultural land reform mandates a thorough review of the status of the land in question before any redesignation. He went on to mention that the authorities must also verify that the land’s occupants are indeed farmers. However, in this case, the individuals who received Sor Por Kor rights within the park do not appear to be farmers.

The National Park Office Director, Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn, has reported the issue to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Gen Phatcharavat Wongsuwan.

Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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