Each minute, an area the size of 48 football fields is destroyed due to agricultural malpractice.
This area totals 46-58 thousand square miles of destroyed natural habitat each year. In Thailand alone, forested areas have decreased over the last 50 years, from over 50% of total land area to just 25%.
With about 80% of the world’s documented species living in tropical rainforests, global deforestation has resulted in a high loss of biodiversity.
Many species have become endangered as a consequence of habitat destruction. Asian elephants are a prime example for this phenomenon: while some 100 – 200 thousand elephants were living in Thailand about 100 years ago, there are fewer than 4,700 left today.
The main cause of deforestation in Thailand is the clearing of forests for agricultural purposes. Illegal logging and the collection of wood used for small scale construction are other influential factors, along with the ongoing forest fires, of course.
The removal of trees without sufficient reforestation results in disruption of water cycles as well as increased soil erosion and greenhouse gas emissions. To combat deforestation in Northwestern Thailand and prevent these environmental consequences from continuing to happen, we have adopted a 3-point Reforestation Program.
- We aim to grow native bamboo and sell it at absolute minimum cost to local communities and, if possible, give it away for free. In doing so, we will shift consumer preferences from unsustainable, inferior practices to sustainable and superior ones. Bamboo is in fact a good substitute for trees as it grows more efficiently: it requires 3 – 4 years rather than a minimum of 15 years which most native tree species need in order to be suitable for cutting. Moreover, bamboo becomes an extremely resistant construction material if grown correctly, harvested ideally and treated with the right natural products. Focusing on planting bamboo therefore allows us to use a fast-growing grass to mitigate current levels of deforestation, whilst at the same time increasing the quality of housing in the area.
- By acquiring as much land as possible and producing as many trees as we can, we strive to reforest the area by planting native tree species at the beginning of each annual monsoon season.We have set up a tree nursery that contains thousands of trees and where more germinate each day. The Royal Forest Department along with the Royal Thai Army support our planting activities during rainy seasons to ensure we have enough manpower.
- Throughout the world, local communities apply agricultural and forestry methods that often damage the environment irrevocably (e.g. slash & burn techniques, extensive use of chemicals). We want to change such behavior by educating locals about impacts of deforestation as well as sustainable and environmentally friendly farming.This program is built around agroforestry, organic farming, and other permaculture techniques. Leading by example,we have engaged in the most advanced forms of permaculture to produce a large variety of products in an environmentally friendly way.