Thap Lan National Park boundary shift sparks conservation concerns; public hearings ongoing

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The Cabinet approved a resolution on March 14, 2023, to redraw the park’s boundaries based on a 2000 survey, potentially excluding this sizeable area from national park protection.

The future of over 260,000 rai (about 42,000 hectares) of forest land in Thap Lan National Park is currently under debate as the Thai government seeks to address long-standing land disputes.

The Cabinet approved a resolution on March 14, 2023, to redraw the park’s boundaries based on a 2000 survey, potentially excluding this sizeable area from national park protection.

The move aims to resolve conflicts between local communities and park authorities that have persisted for over 40 years.



The land in question was originally designated as a reserve forest before being declared a national park, with some areas already allocated to settlers.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation is now conducting public hearings both affected areas of Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachin Buri, and Sa Kaeo provinces last week and online until July 12.


The move aims to resolve conflicts between local communities and park authorities that have persisted for over 40 years.

Atthaphon Charoenchansa, Director-General of the Department of National Parks, explained that the decision seeks to address the needs of long-time residents while also considering conservation concerns.

He emphasized that individuals involved in ongoing legal cases or those who do not meet legal qualifications will not be granted land rights. The department will compile public opinions and present them to the National Park Committee within 30 days for further consideration.




However, the proposed boundary adjustment has raised concerns among conservationists. They warn of potential severe impacts on the park’s ecology and its status as a natural World Heritage site. There are fears that the move could lead to increased construction of resorts and agricultural expansion in sensitive areas, threatening biodiversity and soil stability.

The final decision on the park’s boundaries will be made after careful consideration of public input, legal issues, and environmental factors. (TNA)