Care needed with Thai biodiversity

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Thais take too much from their country’s bio-diversity – plants, animals and micro-organisms – and ignore limits in the process, a Thailand Environment Institute adviser warned yesterday.

“Such ignorance has led to degradation and the loss of diversity,” Prof Sanit Aksornkoae said at the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT). The session aimed to gather opinions for drafting a strategy for research on bio-diversity up to 2016.

The World Bank has put the economic value from the use of Thai bio-diversity at between Bt75 billion and Bt300 billion annually.

“It’s necessary that Thailand urgently take concrete measures to stop the excessive or wasteful use of biological resources,” Sanit said.

He pointed out that while all parts of a tree could be used, some people exploiting them use just some parts. Rare plants were also being uprooted by people who did not understand the plants’ real value, he said.

Dr Aparat Mahakhant, a researcher at the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research, recommended the distribution of knowledge to locals in easy-to-understand language.

“To society, researchers and academics are unable to communicate well. We are seen as failing to put our messages across. So, we have to improve ourselves on this point too,” she said.

She said Facebook could be an effective means to reach out to a wide audience. Aparat believes in the potential of local villages in protecting bio-diversity if they were given knowledge, including legal information.

NRCT secretary-general Soottiporn Chittmittrapap said the government was now seeking to develop efficient management of natural resources that would be in line with local wisdom and culture.

“All stakeholders should join hands in researching bio-diversity and the application of their findings,” he said.



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