While in 1990 forests made up 31.6 percent of the word's land area (4,128 million hectares), this has changed to 30.6 percent (3,999 million hectares) in 2015, while the bulk (93 %) of the world's forest area is natural forest and 7% is planted forest according to Forest Resource Assessment (FRA).
In the world today, an estimated 18 million acres (7.3 million hectares) of forest, which is roughly the size of the country of Panama, are lost each year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This is an astounding figure and is equivalent to approximately 50 football pitch being removed every minute.
In Thailand in the year 2016, there was approximately 30 % of the land area covered by forest at an area of 15.2 million hectares ha. This forest area covered all forest types including: swamp forest, degraded forest and areas reforested.
How will we feel, if the area of forests in Thailand is continuously reduce at the amount of 71,910 ha annually?
This is the great loss of area of watershed forests that provide hydrological services to the 66 million population of the country. Regarding the severe climate change impacts, the situation is getting worse. Are the left over watershed forests that Thailand has, sufficient to ensure the sustainable livelihoods of the total Thai population? Would Thailand still be the Rice Bowl of Asia under the worst case scenario?
Today this forest area is protected under the National Parks Act (1961) for those areas designated as National Parks, and under the Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act (1992) for those areas designated as Wildlife Sanctuaries. These two classifications comprise the two principle categories of Protected Areas in Thailand. Despite having these two pieces of legislation designed to protect these forest areas however destruction and multiple threats impact upon the forest area and continue to reduce its extent. This means that the livelihood security of the Thai population continues to be undermined.
As a result of deforestation and land conversion to agriculture, parts of Thailand's Doi Suthep-Pui National Park are earmarked for forest restoration.
In response to these threats to the forests of Thailand the Forest Resources Management Unit (FRMU) of WWF Thailand aims to mobilise national policies, to enhance the conservation practices, of Thailand's forest resources, and Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) for production forests.
The FRMU will work with all stakeholders and partners to strengthen and improve management and planning for the terrestrial Protected Area system, promote sustainable management and utilisation of production forests and will explore ways to reverse the loss and degradation of forests to restore their ecological, economic and social roles and functions.