The Cabinet designated May 10 as National Mangrove Day. This year, refraining from all activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) focuses on educating, building capacity and understanding, and creating awareness of mangrove forest conservation through public relations.
Varawut Silpa-archa, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, encouraged the nation to celebrate National Mangrove Day and the success Thailand has had in increasing mangrove forest areas. In addition, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Mr. Jatuporn Buruspat, directed the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources to find ways to create comprehensive mangrove management standards and measures.
Mr.Varawut said that, in the past five years, the health of mangrove forests has been improving and significantly increasing in size. This increase is according to a survey and interpretation of high-resolution satellite images done in 2020 by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources and GISTDA (Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (Public Organization)). The findings showed mangrove forests of 1.737 million rai, a 200,000 rai increase from 2014’s survey. He proudly said that this success came from the cooperation of all the people and communities who helped maintain and rehabilitate mangrove forests in many areas. Recently, there was a launch of “Baan Tha Lane Canyon in Krabi,” a pristine mangrove forest preserved and cared for by the local people, providing eco-tourism.
The Cabinet has designated May 10 each year as the National Mangrove Day because on May 10, 1991, His Majesty, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great, had first addressed to the relevant departments to protect and conserve mangrove forests jointly. As for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Mr.Varawut has urged the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, the primarily responsible department, to take the royal speech as a guideline for mangrove forest conservation under the participation of people, community, and various sectors.
“National Mangrove Day” is the day we should commemorate His Royal Grace for caring and concerning the value of mangrove forest conservation. It is the day to celebrate the success of our teamwork in increasing the mangrove forests by 200,000 rai. Hopefully, it will continue to grow every single year. “I believe in the people’s determination to maintain and rehabilitate mangrove forests so that they will be pristine and long-lasting,” said Mr.Varawut.
This year, for National Mangrove Day, Mr. Jatuporn Buruspat, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said that activities have refrained from Coronavirus 2019 or COVID-19 pandemic. However, the focus would be on public relations regarding the citizens’ cooperation on mangrove forest conservation, their achievement on increasing the forest areas, creating awareness of natural resources conservation, and building understanding of the mangrove ecosystem. There are also other vital achievements related to mangrove forest conservation. Firstly, the Rama IX International Mangrove Botanical Garden has been established in 518 rai in Chanthaburi Province. It is the world’s first mangrove-based botanical garden that collects mangrove forest plants worldwide and serves as a research and learning center for mangrove forest conservation and rehabilitation. Secondly, the MNRE has been preparing to propose Ranong’s mangrove forest area, which contains high biodiversity and a unique ecosystem, as a natural world heritage site. It would give the international community a glimpse of the integrity of Thailand’s natural resources and reflect the cooperation of the people who help taking care of them.
In addition, Mr. Jatuporn has advised Mr. Sopon Thongdee, Director General of Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, on taking the lessons learned from past activities to improve their performance, developing officials’ knowledge and capability, finding private sector partners as well as, building a network of people to promote participation in mangrove forest conservation. He believes that once the COVID-19 breakout resolves, Thai and international tourists will vastly visit mangrove forests in Thailand. The government must prepare preventive measures and guidelines to establish practical area management standards in line with sustainable development approaches.