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World Heritage Centre seeks answers on forest complex

The World Heritage Centre has asked Thailand for clarification by Tuesday on several points regarding the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex, which was a possible candidate for listing as a World Heritage in Danger.

Kishore Rao, director of the centre, recently sent a letter to Apichart Chinwanno, Thailand's permanent delegate to Unesco, about the transmission of the report on the reactive monitoring mission for the complex conducted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from January 14-20.

Rao thanked Thai authorities for facilitating the mission and said that, based on the Thai authorities' report and the outcome of the mission, it was proposed in the draft committee decision that the forest complex should be inscribed on the List of World Heritages in Danger.

However, additional information had been received from a third party about the forest complex's state of conservation, so the centre and IUCN, before finalising the working document for this year's session of the World Heritage Committee, posed several questions:

If the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the section of Highway 304 from km 42-57 has been approved, after the EIA for the km 26-29 section was approved earlier.

If the construction of Huay Samong Dam, which would flood an area that was reportedly home to Siamese crocodiles, a critically endangered species, would have a potential impact on the remaining crocodile population.

If the potential dam construction in the Klang Dong or western area of Ta Phraya National Park would likely impact the "outstanding universal value" of the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex.

If there was illegal logging of Siamese rosewood, as at least three rangers were wounded in recent shoot-outs and park staff were reportedly threatened regularly.


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