"20 Years of PTT Reforestation Institute
beyond awareness – is taking actions"
The current situation of forests and the environment, both international and national, has become apparent in their decreasing trend; both in terms of areas and prosperity of existing forest area. I was concluded at the World Forestry Congress, at Buenos Aires, Argentina, in October 2009, that the major causes of changes are external, rather than internal. The most important cause was pointed to anthropogenic activities, such as increasing population, industry-based economic growth, and citizens migrating to urbanized cities. These causes have direct impacts to climate change, limited energy availability, and the lack of food security. Following discussions on solutions, it was concluded that it is a shared-responsibility between all sectors, public sector, private sector, and the local community; only then, would the efforts become success.
For Thailand, these are salient problems, as apparent from numerous implemented projects focusing on strengthening of forests, environment, and quality of life. These projects are launched by the public sector, private sector, and even by the local community themselves taking matter into their own hand. The current situation here indicates that Thailand still needs to have another 3.04 million hectare, which should be conservation forests and economic forest at 1.76 hectare and 1.28 hectare respectively. This established equilibrium in the ecosystem, providing environmental benefits and better quality of population’s lives.
PTT is another actor within the private sector that recognizes the weight of environmental issues and quality of life, and have acted consistently. This is reflected in the mission to operate business while maintaining social and environmental responsibility. There have been notable efforts, particularly the voluntary participation to the reforestation project in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Late His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s ascension to the throne (1994-2002), totaling to over 160,000 hectares. There are also plantation and protection of forest areas on operation sites under PTT Group. This is under the patronage of Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and situated in Nan. Most importantly, PTT is able to maintain the 160,000 hectares reforested in good condition up until now, because PTT has worked with communities in the reforestation area, enabling them to become a strong network for forest protection. This was achieved through long-term forest protection training, such as training of civilians to become a forest protectors, training volunteers for wildfire prevention, and PTT’s training of youth for forest conservation.
Presently, PTT Public Company Limited is determined to continue forest plantation and management. This indicates level of attention and responsibility PTT has for Thailand’s environment. Activities comprise of PTT Reforestation Institute, organizing reforestation projects for ecosystem restoration, and global warming mitigation. The project comprises maintenance of the original 160,000 hectares of forests, and continues onwards for new reforestation. The projects include ensuring the forests are sustainable by nature. The efforts were in collaboration with the public sector, private sector, and the community network. The goal was to reach carbon dioxide absorption capacity of 2.1 million tons Carbon Dioxide per year by 2022; in conjunction with development of local economy via job creation outside urbanized areas, and better environmental quality.
In addition to the mission to plant and maintain forests, PTT Reforestation Institute also collects knowledge with regards to reforestation and forest restoration, and distribute it with the public through various channels, as follows.
1. Wang Chan Forest Learning Center, at Pa Yoop Nai Sub-district, Wang Chan District, Rayong, is the primary center of the eastern region. Its objective is to collect knowledge and various innovation for reforestation, particularly the integrative approach, ‘Agroforestry’, in which perennial trees, farm plants, and mixed farming are conducted in the same area. This is one of the forest restoration format prototyped, in responds of all objectives, either economic, social or environment in a sustainable way, in accordance to the Sufficiency Philosophy. Presently, ‘Wang Chan Forest Learning Center’ uses data obtained from researches on natural resources and community, to combine with application of environmental science knowledge and local wisdom. This helps expand benefits into the ‘local ecosystem curriculum’ teaching approach, connecting learnings from Wang Chan Forest Project with the areas in vicinity in Pa Yoop Nai Sub-district. It becomes part of the formal education and non-formal education. The format used participatory action research. Wang Chan Forest, PTT Reforestation Institute, and the surrounding community are all able to take part in the construction of aforementioned curriculum. This connects formal education in schools in local community and Wang Chan Forest Learning Center. It was hoped that students will develop knowledge, understanding, and awareness of natural resource’s importance, such as wild ecosystems, agriculture, and local culture in Pa Yoop Nai Sub-district, Wang Chan District, Rayong. This encompasses mutual relationship between humans and nature, and the principle of conservation and sustainable usage. As of 2017, there were 66,795 visitors at Wang Chan Forest Learning Center.
2. Urban Forest, situated on a 1.92 hectare at Sukapiban 2 Road, Prawes District, Bangkok. It was designed under the concept of ‘PTT Green in the City,’ with infrastructure camouflaging with the environment, and is energy-saving by nature. It is a prototype for green building, in alignment with Thailand 4.0 Model with regards to driving forward in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. It serves an education opportunity and ‘urban forest’ learning center. As of 2017, there were 117,420 visitors.
3. Sirinart Rajini Ecosystem Learning Center situated in Prachaub Kirikant and is the learning center centralizing knowledge on restoration of abandoned shrimp farm to rich mangrove forests. It is a national-level learning center for mangrove forest, and serves as the prototype for sustainable forest management, with active inclusion of community, public sector, and private sector. As of 2017, there were 53,045 visitors, generating as much as 360,640 Baht for the community on tourism. Furthermore, PTT also operates m project of natural classroom to disseminate knowledge with regards to mangrove forests. It is a practical training, and is a continuous program over 9 month duration for school students in the vicinity of Sirinart Rajini Ecosystem Learning Center, totals to 1,291 students.
For further information regarding other projects of PTT Reforestation Institute, please click here