ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Deforestation in Asean yields predictable results
By David Swartzentruber
He said he was in the forestry business. Our conversation turned to the deforestation problems in Thailand. He quickly informed me that satellite photos clearly showed the severe level of deforestation in Thailand.
What is “past is prologue” and a current report, issued by the Mineral Resource Department in the wake of massive flooding southern Thailand, indicates that more than 1 million people in Thailand living on hillsides are in risk of being swept away by landslides.
Picturesque northern Thailand is at the greatest risk with more than 3,965 villages located near slopes of hills, followed by the south with 1,628 villages, the central and western region with 317 villages, and the eastern region with 179.
Wide areas of corn farming in certain provinces have destroyed land surfaces that could absorb flash floods and prevent slides. Next month the northern and western regions face increased threat of landslides as they enter the rainy season.
The deforestation issue is not confined to Thailand.
Recent satellite imagery shows that Thailand’s southern neighbor, Malaysia, is destroying forest land three times faster than any other country in Asia to reap profits on the world demand for palm oil.
In Indonesia palm oil giant Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology, accused by green groups of clearing valuable forest, aims to expand its plantations by 50,000 hectares a year, the company’s president director said.
The rainy season in the Asean region is expected to begin next month. Until Asean governments take effective action in deforestation and water resource management, more misery will be sustained on their citizens.
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