NCPO looks to expand forests to 40%

The National Council for Peace and Order has approved a plan to increase the percentage of forested land in Thailand to at least 40% within 10 years, an Internal Security Operations Command spokesman said Wednesday.

Col Banpot Pulpian said a new master plan to expand forests and natural resources beyond the current 31.6% of the country was drafted by the Isoc, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the forestry academics at Kasetsart University. NCPO chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha has already approved it, he said.

Currently, forests cover about 163,200 square kilometres in Thailand.

Under the master plan, authorities will try to stop illegal logging and recover forests from encroachers within a year, while following years will see reforestation. Apart from integrated operations to protect national forests, authorities also plan to raise public awareness of the value of woodlands, Col Banpot said.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is taking the lead in implementing the master plan while the Isoc is coordinating with other governmental organisations.

Under the plan, concerned ministries will also implement projects to increase the incomes and improve the lives of people living in and around forests.

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