Mr Somboon Tongdoung

Somprach Phonchoo:
Head of Krabi Forest Protection Unit


How long have you worked in the forest department? 22 years

Why did you start working for the forest department?
I want protection for the environment.

What are the aims of the protection forest department?
Protect and preserve lowland KNC to make home for Gurney's Pita.

What changes have you seen locally in the forest since you started working for the forestry department? We can protect the forest more effectively from the people that want to clear it, and replant the forest to bring back its natural ecosystems.

What animals live in the local forest now? Many kinds of animals, birds and insects, but the most famous one is Gurney's pitta.

Why do people clear forests? They want the land to plant agricultural products - palm oil and rubber.

Who is responsible for clearing forest? Local people clear forest but the big problem is large outside agricultural corporations that operate behind the scenes for big profits. They care little for the forest or the community.

Why is the forest more valuable as forest than as cleared land? This is a very important watershed area of Krabi province which maintains fresh water levels for all of the surrounding area, including the hot springs.

What changes in the local area would make it easier for you to protect local forest? If the area of the forest is healthier, it will help us promote it and prevent people from clearing the forest.

Have you seen changes in the community's attitude to conservation over the years? The community doesn't see the value of having forest. Their aim is still focused on making a living from their agriculture.

How realistic do you think protecting the last remaining lowland forest in Krabi is? It is under control and manageable, and we now have much less people attempting to clear forest, but we still need more work to be done.

In your work do you get negative attitudes from people? What are these and why? Nowadays the agency I belong to and also the people of the community have a much better understanding and attitude towards the forest, so we have some hope for the future.

What statistics or facts have you seen which have most alarmed you about environmental / deforestation issues in Thailand?
At present we are seeing many more natural disasters such as flooding, some of this is due to the natural season changes but it is also increased because there is less forest to control the water levels.

What is your message to people across the world about how to prevent deforestation? I want everyone to know and be aware of the importance of having forest, especially lowland forest KNC. This is the last lowland forest in Thailand, and also home to many beautiful and rare animals.