New Forests investment in Thailand

Kuan Kreng Landscape Peatland Conservation and Restoration Project

RSCF partner New Forests has announced the first investment for its Tropical Asia Forest Fund 2 (TAFF2). This project, which has benefitted from the Facility’s support in its development, will contribute to conserving and restoring the Kuan Kreng Landscape (KKL) in Thailand, which holds the country’s second largest peat swamp forest area.

The KKL has an area of 70,715 hectares and spans three provinces in southern Thailand, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, and Songkhla. More than 60,000 local people depend on fishing and other non-timber forest products from the peat swamp forests for sustenance and livelihoods.

Two thirds of the KKL peat swamp forest is degraded due to drainage canal networks associated with agricultural land use, which lowers water tables and causes GHG emissions from peat oxidation. Fires can also contribute to transboundary haze that reduces air quality in local communities and urban areas such as Bangkok.

New Forests has established a local entity, Restore Nature (Thailand), which works closely with the Thai government and local community groups to design and implement a project that aims to raise the ground water table in select areas through the construction of semi-permanent canal blocks to restore degraded peatland. In addition, the project will undertake revegetation and enrichment planting to create biodiversity corridors to support the distribution of fauna and flora. Development of an integrated fire management program will also be a key component of the project.

Restore Nature (Thailand) will seek to design and develop a carbon project to protect and restore degraded peatland and peat swamp forest in the landscape, improve biodiversity, and enhance local community livelihoods.

The groups involved in this project include the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and other relevant organisations. Restore Nature is supported by RECOFTC, an international nonprofit working for resilient communities and sustainable and equitable forest landscapes, and a team of international and local consultants.