Big investors still destroying protected mangroves

Breaking News August 10, 2017 18:35

By The Nation

The White Sharks taskforce yesterday seized almost 100 rai (16 hectares) of mangrove in Krabi province after it found fresh land encroachment despite efforts to stop the illegal action.

Almost 100 mangrove forests in Nuea Klong district were found to be encroached upon before the White Sharks of the Marine and Coastal Resources department (DMCR) raided and seized them.

DMCR deputy chief Sophon Thongdee, said the land plots are part of forest reserves, including the pristine Klong Nuea Klong Reserve as well as the nationally declared mangrove forests protected under a Cabinet resolution.

Designated mangroves cannot be encroached upon, nor land deeds issued. However, the department’s taskforce has people claiming to be owners have grown oil palms and rubber trees on the land. A natural waterway has also been drained, leaving an inland mangroves stand dead. Big investors are believed by the department to be behind this illegal action.

The taskforce also went to inspect Lanta Noi Island in Koh Lan Ta district, where they found the landowners ignored court orders for them to leave. 

More documents issued for land plots on the island are also under investigation, said Ratchai Pornpa, the taskforce’s chief.

The latest effort is part of an attempt to take protected coastal areas including mangroves back from large investors. The department has managed to reclaim 36,000 rai of mangroves nationwide, of which 14,000 rai have been rehabilitated.

Some 362 cases have been processed this year, with 37 people charged for illegally encroaching on the state’s mangroves.

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