Deputy Secretary-General of the Office of the Royal Development Projects Board Kowit Pengwanich presided over the meeting with provincial authorities and other related agencies.
National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department chief Damrong Pidej said at the meeting that following an inspection of over 200,000 rai of peat forest land, the agency found a large amount of rubber and palm plantations encroaching on the protected land. He elaborated that oil palm plantations had effectively degraded the land and induced widespread drought across the area.
Mr Damrong stated that in order to prevent further environmental damage and extensive encroachment on national parks’ areas, a probe into illegal issuances of land ownership certificates and a revision to the land ownership laws in the country are needed.
Nakhon Si Thammarat governor Viroj Jiwarangsan added that the province is requesting a budget of 20 million baht for an environmental impact assessment study and for an additional demarcation of land ownership boundaries near the government-owned areas.