Pang Sida, a mountainous forest area in Eastern Thailand that forms part of the UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site Dong-Phyayen-Kao Yai Forest Complex, has been selected as the first demonstration site for the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund (KNCF) supported project “Enhancing Sustainable Resource Management Capacity in Protected Areas in Asia”. The IUCN project, which also includes contributions from WCPA Regional Vice-Chair for East Asia, Dr. Yoshitaka Kumugai, aims to contribute to the achievement of Aichi Target 11* through enhancing sustainable conservation and management of protected areas in Asia by developing and implementing action plans for priority sites and by widely disseminating the experiences and lessons learned.
Pang Sida is rich in biodiversity, supporting a wide range of vegetation types, including deciduous, semi-evergreen and montane forest. It is home to over 400 species of butterflies, 200 species of birds and a number of threatened animals, including guar and the critically endangered Siamese crocodile. Like protected areas throughout rapidly developing Asia, it is also confronted by many threats. These include poaching, illegal logging (particularly for the valuable Siamese rosewood), encroachment by surrounding communities, and infrastructure development, including the construction of a new road and dam. Pang Sida also lies adjacent to Cambodia, which leads to many additional challenges, as well as opportunities. Its unique location and circumstance make the Park important nationally, regionally and even globally.
In 2013, IUCN has worked with the Thailand’s Department of National Parks and a number of other stakeholders – the Freeland Foundation, the Internal Security Operations Command, Provincial Office of Natural Resources and Environment, the National Park Superintendent and community representatives – to establish an informal network which has led to significant improvements in information sharing and enhanced coordination of activities in and around the Park. The collaborative efforts have led to a press conference detailing the increasingly difficult situation faced by Park rangers, which also highlighted steps for improvement, a ceremony in the Park for World Ranger Day, and a tree planting programme which included local farmers and villagers and resulted in 4,000 high value timber trees being sown on farmland. The project has also led to three information gathering visits on the Park’s status, management issues and the priorities of local communities, development of an action plan, and an experts’ workshop, which covered issues and challenges, as well as potential solutions, facing the Park and its buffer zones.
As the project develops, additional site visits for information gathering are planned while development of the strategy for community engagement and livelihood improvements continues. A proposal for Phase 2 of the project will be completed soon, aimed at beginning the implementation of priority activities on the ground.
*Aichi Target 11: By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water areas, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes.