Connect with us

Thai Life

Keep It Green: The cost of cutting trees

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: I live in Saiyuan in the south of Phuket. Every day for years and years, I have taken pleasure from the presence of a magnificent forest tree, probably a dipterocarp, high above the road and providing an arching green canopy to drive under on my way home. Inspiring… but in the blink of an eye, this tree, maybe 100 years old, has gone. All that remains is an ugly stump.

Why? I asked my Thai partner. “Oh! It was in the way. The man wanted to extend his house”. For her, it represents progress. For me, mindless destruction.

Of course, we witness such acts everywhere in Phuket. The island has lost almost all of its original deciduous forest, much to encroachment. Most undeveloped land is now either scrubland, or rubber and palm oil plantations. Worse, every condominium, shop house and car park obliterates a patch of greenery, along with its trees.

Almost nothing is ever done to replace this forfeiture.

Concrete jungles give nothing remotely beneficial to our environment. In fact quite the reverse: they spew out waste at an alarming rate. On the other hand, trees and the oceans are the lungs of the earth.

A mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen in a year as four people inhale in that period. By planting more trees worldwide, say 20 million, we would gain 260 more million tons of life-enhancing oxygen. At the same time, these trees would store (as carbon) 10 million tons of harmful CO2 – the greenhouse gas primarily responsible for climate change.

Furthermore, trees reduce run-off by holding soil in place. Like a giant sponge, the root systems retain rain water and then slowly release it through their leaves.

That the world is experiencing far more disasters due to landslides is in large measure due to de-forestation, to human destruction of forest and consequent loss of its capacity to bind the earth and soak up moisture. When properties are built on denuded hillsides the potential threat of mudslides is heightened.

Furthermore, some developers in Phuket would do well to realize that trees increase the value of property. Villas or apartments surrounded by trees sell for considerably more than properties with none. And people are more willing to relax or shop where there are inviting areas of greenery.

Singapore, much more developed than similarly sized Phuket, has impressive avenues of trees everywhere. Not only more appealing, but cooler than our own urban sprawl. Research shows that trees can cool a city by up to 10°F.

It is not just trees. We are all doing our bit when we plant gardens. Shrubs also provide shelter, food and nesting habitats for the considerable range of birds, mammals, reptiles and insects that still live in Phuket.

My own garden is home to squirrels, coucals (of the cuckoo family), sunbirds, bulbuls, and spider eaters, as well as skinks and agamid lizards. Butterflies abound too. Nothing unusual in that. If you provide the right natural conditions, Mother Nature will respond positively.

Happily, there are worthwhile global initiatives making a difference. Since 2010, ‘The Canopy Project’ has planted more than 1.5 million trees in 21 countries, focusing mostly on areas in need of reforestation. The benefits are not just aesthetic. The UN estimates, that for every dollar spent on reforestation, US$2.50 is generated in local downstream income and benefits.

So far there is no Canopy Project in Thailand, but at least Phuket is increasingly alert to the needs of a tropical island surrounded by eroding seas. The planting of mangroves is a welcome sign, along with a growing public concern for our beach-side casuarina trees, but much more needs to be done at a grass-roots level.

If you have gardening or environmental concerns, contact Patrick at drpaccampbell@gmail.com. Many of his creative and academic publications can be found at his website: Green galoshes WordPress.

— Patrick Campbell

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Looking for your next home in Thailand? Let us match you with a local expert in minutes!

Thank you for your interest!

One of our agents will
reach out to you soon.

I want to:
  • Thailand (ไทย)+66
  • United States+1
  • United Kingdom+44
  • Australia+61
  • Afghanistan (‫افغانستان‬‎)+93
  • Albania (Shqipëri)+355
  • Algeria (‫الجزائر‬‎)+213
  • American Samoa+1684
  • Andorra+376
  • Angola+244
  • Anguilla+1264
  • Antigua and Barbuda+1268
  • Argentina+54
  • Armenia (Հայաստան)+374
  • Aruba+297
  • Australia+61
  • Austria (Österreich)+43
  • Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan)+994
  • Bahamas+1242
  • Bahrain (‫البحرين‬‎)+973
  • Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ)+880
  • Barbados+1246
  • Belarus (Беларусь)+375
  • Belgium (België)+32
  • Belize+501
  • Benin (Bénin)+229
  • Bermuda+1441
  • Bhutan (འབྲུག)+975
  • Bolivia+591
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (Босна и Херцеговина)+387
  • Botswana+267
  • Brazil (Brasil)+55
  • British Indian Ocean Territory+246
  • British Virgin Islands+1284
  • Brunei+673
  • Bulgaria (България)+359
  • Burkina Faso+226
  • Burundi (Uburundi)+257
  • Cambodia (កម្ពុជា)+855
  • Cameroon (Cameroun)+237
  • Canada+1
  • Cape Verde (Kabu Verdi)+238
  • Caribbean Netherlands+599
  • Cayman Islands+1345
  • Central African Republic (République centrafricaine)+236
  • Chad (Tchad)+235
  • Chile+56
  • China (中国)+86
  • Christmas Island+61
  • Cocos (Keeling) Islands+61
  • Colombia+57
  • Comoros (‫جزر القمر‬‎)+269
  • Congo (DRC) (Jamhuri ya Kidemokrasia ya Kongo)+243
  • Congo (Republic) (Congo-Brazzaville)+242
  • Cook Islands+682
  • Costa Rica+506
  • Côte d’Ivoire+225
  • Croatia (Hrvatska)+385
  • Cuba+53
  • Curaçao+599
  • Cyprus (Κύπρος)+357
  • Czech Republic (Česká republika)+420
  • Denmark (Danmark)+45
  • Djibouti+253
  • Dominica+1767
  • Dominican Republic (República Dominicana)+1
  • Ecuador+593
  • Egypt (‫مصر‬‎)+20
  • El Salvador+503
  • Equatorial Guinea (Guinea Ecuatorial)+240
  • Eritrea+291
  • Estonia (Eesti)+372
  • Ethiopia+251
  • Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)+500
  • Faroe Islands (Føroyar)+298
  • Fiji+679
  • Finland (Suomi)+358
  • France+33
  • French Guiana (Guyane française)+594
  • French Polynesia (Polynésie française)+689
  • Gabon+241
  • Gambia+220
  • Georgia (საქართველო)+995
  • Germany (Deutschland)+49
  • Ghana (Gaana)+233
  • Gibraltar+350
  • Greece (Ελλάδα)+30
  • Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat)+299
  • Grenada+1473
  • Guadeloupe+590
  • Guam+1671
  • Guatemala+502
  • Guernsey+44
  • Guinea (Guinée)+224
  • Guinea-Bissau (Guiné Bissau)+245
  • Guyana+592
  • Haiti+509
  • Honduras+504
  • Hong Kong (香港)+852
  • Hungary (Magyarország)+36
  • Iceland (Ísland)+354
  • India (भारत)+91
  • Indonesia+62
  • Iran (‫ایران‬‎)+98
  • Iraq (‫العراق‬‎)+964
  • Ireland+353
  • Isle of Man+44
  • Israel (‫ישראל‬‎)+972
  • Italy (Italia)+39
  • Jamaica+1
  • Japan (日本)+81
  • Jersey+44
  • Jordan (‫الأردن‬‎)+962
  • Kazakhstan (Казахстан)+7
  • Kenya+254
  • Kiribati+686
  • Kosovo+383
  • Kuwait (‫الكويت‬‎)+965
  • Kyrgyzstan (Кыргызстан)+996
  • Laos (ລາວ)+856
  • Latvia (Latvija)+371
  • Lebanon (‫لبنان‬‎)+961
  • Lesotho+266
  • Liberia+231
  • Libya (‫ليبيا‬‎)+218
  • Liechtenstein+423
  • Lithuania (Lietuva)+370
  • Luxembourg+352
  • Macau (澳門)+853
  • Macedonia (FYROM) (Македонија)+389
  • Madagascar (Madagasikara)+261
  • Malawi+265
  • Malaysia+60
  • Maldives+960
  • Mali+223
  • Malta+356
  • Marshall Islands+692
  • Martinique+596
  • Mauritania (‫موريتانيا‬‎)+222
  • Mauritius (Moris)+230
  • Mayotte+262
  • Mexico (México)+52
  • Micronesia+691
  • Moldova (Republica Moldova)+373
  • Monaco+377
  • Mongolia (Монгол)+976
  • Montenegro (Crna Gora)+382
  • Montserrat+1664
  • Morocco (‫المغرب‬‎)+212
  • Mozambique (Moçambique)+258
  • Myanmar (Burma) (မြန်မာ)+95
  • Namibia (Namibië)+264
  • Nauru+674
  • Nepal (नेपाल)+977
  • Netherlands (Nederland)+31
  • New Caledonia (Nouvelle-Calédonie)+687
  • New Zealand+64
  • Nicaragua+505
  • Niger (Nijar)+227
  • Nigeria+234
  • Niue+683
  • Norfolk Island+672
  • North Korea (조선 민주주의 인민 공화국)+850
  • Northern Mariana Islands+1670
  • Norway (Norge)+47
  • Oman (‫عُمان‬‎)+968
  • Pakistan (‫پاکستان‬‎)+92
  • Palau+680
  • Palestine (‫فلسطين‬‎)+970
  • Panama (Panamá)+507
  • Papua New Guinea+675
  • Paraguay+595
  • Peru (Perú)+51
  • Philippines+63
  • Poland (Polska)+48
  • Portugal+351
  • Puerto Rico+1
  • Qatar (‫قطر‬‎)+974
  • Réunion (La Réunion)+262
  • Romania (România)+40
  • Russia (Россия)+7
  • Rwanda+250
  • Saint Barthélemy+590
  • Saint Helena+290
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis+1869
  • Saint Lucia+1758
  • Saint Martin (Saint-Martin (partie française))+590
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon (Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon)+508
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines+1784
  • Samoa+685
  • San Marino+378
  • São Tomé and Príncipe (São Tomé e Príncipe)+239
  • Saudi Arabia (‫المملكة العربية السعودية‬‎)+966
  • Senegal (Sénégal)+221
  • Serbia (Србија)+381
  • Seychelles+248
  • Sierra Leone+232
  • Singapore+65
  • Sint Maarten+1721
  • Slovakia (Slovensko)+421
  • Slovenia (Slovenija)+386
  • Solomon Islands+677
  • Somalia (Soomaaliya)+252
  • South Africa+27
  • South Korea (대한민국)+82
  • South Sudan (‫جنوب السودان‬‎)+211
  • Spain (España)+34
  • Sri Lanka (ශ්‍රී ලංකාව)+94
  • Sudan (‫السودان‬‎)+249
  • Suriname+597
  • Svalbard and Jan Mayen+47
  • Swaziland+268
  • Sweden (Sverige)+46
  • Switzerland (Schweiz)+41
  • Syria (‫سوريا‬‎)+963
  • Taiwan (台灣)+886
  • Tajikistan+992
  • Tanzania+255
  • Thailand (ไทย)+66
  • Timor-Leste+670
  • Togo+228
  • Tokelau+690
  • Tonga+676
  • Trinidad and Tobago+1868
  • Tunisia (‫تونس‬‎)+216
  • Turkey (Türkiye)+90
  • Turkmenistan+993
  • Turks and Caicos Islands+1649
  • Tuvalu+688
  • U.S. Virgin Islands+1340
  • Uganda+256
  • Ukraine (Україна)+380
  • United Arab Emirates (‫الإمارات العربية المتحدة‬‎)+971
  • United Kingdom+44
  • United States+1
  • Uruguay+598
  • Uzbekistan (Oʻzbekiston)+998
  • Vanuatu+678
  • Vatican City (Città del Vaticano)+39
  • Venezuela+58
  • Vietnam (Việt Nam)+84
  • Wallis and Futuna (Wallis-et-Futuna)+681
  • Western Sahara (‫الصحراء الغربية‬‎)+212
  • Yemen (‫اليمن‬‎)+967
  • Zambia+260
  • Zimbabwe+263
  • Åland Islands+358

    image

    Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

    Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

    Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

    1 Comment

    1 Comment

    1. Avatar

      stephen cooke

      Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 4:50 pm

      We have a beautiful 100 year old tree home to an owl family and other fauna. Now someone in village wants to chop it down for the wood,, as its just outside our land there is nothing we can do, isn’t anyone aware of the living structure of trees and that this is one more tree felled for short term gain and long term loss.? Is there anyone who could help?

    You must be logged in to post a comment Login

    Leave a Reply

    Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

    image

    Follow Thaiger by email:

    Guides10 hours ago

    Take a workation at these 5 best places in Koh Samui

    Thailand10 hours ago

    Thailand’s monkeys are starving due to fear of monkeypox

    Events10 hours ago

    Deep Week in Phuket – The world’s largest open freediving festival

    Sponsored19 hours ago

    Make your dream vacation at these 5 grandest luxury villas in Phuket

    image
    Thailand10 hours ago

    Thailand News Today | Thai Govt announces “zero road deaths” policy

    Economy11 hours ago

    Saudi deal to inject ‘billions’ into Thai economy

    Phuket11 hours ago

    Phuket looks for new groundwater sources to cope with acute water shortages

    image
    Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
    Chon Buri11 hours ago

    Chon Buri garage owner found dead after alleged misunderstanding over bike

    Bangkok11 hours ago

    Taxi’s brakes fail causing 10 vehicle accident in Bangkok

    Travel12 hours ago

    Where to buy electronics in Thailand 2022

    Economy12 hours ago

    Thai PM suggest people only drive for “essential journeys”

    Crime13 hours ago

    Road rage incident leaves truck driver traumatised

    Chon Buri13 hours ago

    Mayor says more changes to come at Pattaya’s Jomtien beach

    Road deaths13 hours ago

    UPDATE: French woman dies riding bicycle in central Thailand

    Crime14 hours ago

    Man arrested for smuggling durian trees valued at 1 million baht to Laos

    Politics14 hours ago

    UPDATE: Thai political activists left to rot in jail

    Thailand8 months ago

    Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

    Thailand1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

    Tourism1 year ago

    Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

    Phuket1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

    Tourism1 year ago

    Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

    Thailand1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

    Tourism1 year ago

    In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

    Thailand1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

    Thailand1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

    Thailand1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

    Thailand1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

    Thailand1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

    Thailand1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

    Thailand1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

    Thailand1 year ago

    Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

    Trending