As the Thai government plans reforestation, local voices must be heard

By Lena Buell, RECOFTC Assistant Communications Officer

Waves approach the mangrove coast in Trat, Thailand, forests, climate change, disasters

Mangrove forests, like this one in Trat, Thailand, can help mitigate the impacts of severe weather events (Photo Credit: Estelle Srivijittakar)

In late February, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announced the government would invest 3 billion baht in reforestation and preservation activities around the country, following an audience with His Royal Highness the King of Thailand in which His Majesty urged the government to focus on reforestation initiatives.

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Thailand’s floods: Community forestry can respond to an uncertain climate future

Community forestry can meet both climate change adaptation and mitigation objectives, says RECOFTC Program Officer Jim Stephenson

Flooding in Ayutthaya

Flooding in Ayutthaya, Thailand. Photo credit: People’s Daily Online

Bangkok, Thailand, 26 October 2011: For more than a month, the Northern and Central plains of Thailand have been devastated by the worst floods in half a century. Parts of Bangkok are now underwater as the government declares a national disaster, and residents are preparing for the worst.  All around Southeast Asia countries have been experiencing unusually strong storms and heavy rainfall with damaging consequences for both people and the economy, with the Thai government predicting a loss of at least 1% in GDP due to flooding this year. One thing is for sure: a changing climate will bring unpredictable challenges, and RECOFTC is working with communities to better understand and prepare for an uncertain climate future.

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Natural Disasters: Punctuating Political Will

There is a rather pragmatic school of thought called punctuated equilibrium, which suggests society is capable of real change only when disaster strikes. Whether the gloomy implications of this hold true or not, there is a definite proliferation of natural disasters these days, and reactions are most definitely being seen.  Notwithstanding the motivations behind these reactions, we can only hope that these natural disasters will inspire greater and swifter commitments to addressing climate change. (more…)

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