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Home > Elephant Nature Park > Rain Forest Protection

Rain Forest Protection

Setting off, elephants and volunteers prepare to save the forest.
Setting off, elephants and volunteers prepare to save the forest
Conservationists estimate that Thailand's forest canopy is a mere 15-20% of the country's total land area. 12.5% of the country is claimed by national parks. The Thai government imposed a total national ban on logging when mud slides claimed the lives of 350 people in a southern Thai village in the November 1988. Evening light reflects on a saved tree.
Evening light reflects on a saved tree.

It was only then recognised that the wholesale denudation of these crucial resources was putting at risk the very lives of the rural population.

With the rapid depletion of the Northern area's forests something had to be done to stem this wholesale destruction. Lek decided to enlist the powers of local religion and superstition.

Trees are adorned with Buddhist cloth. This prevents locals from cutting them down as this is thought to bring extremely bad luck and is a religious taboo. Each strip of saffron cloth represents the soul of a person. To cut down the tree would insult this spirit and cause sever offence and extreme retributions.

Trees are adorned with Buddhist cloth stop locals from cutting the trees. This seems to work well. Years after many of the trees still have the original orange strip encircling the trunk. Volunteers and  participants in the special conservation overnight trips are invited to tie the saffron cuttings around the tree. 

(See links at the bottom of the page for more details)

Many hectares of precious forest has been saved this way.
Plans are afoot to plant some 100 rai (1600 square metres x 100) per year for, at least, the next five years. Types of trees will include hard woods, such at teak, rosewood and other indigenous species. We will soon be in a position to completely re-green the whole area. Some of the species will reach maturity within a very short period of time whilst other hard woods will be growing for centuries. A gift to the future strollers. Visitors, present and future will witness the rebirth and renewal of a natural wonder.
Visitors to the Park are encouraged to plant a tree in the surrounding area. This most welcome and beneficial contribution will leave the visitor with a sense of well being.

Lek explains the medicinal relevance of local plants to conservation visitors.

More info: Volunteer Programmes | Conservation trips

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