New book “Parks for Life” highlights the immense value of national parks in Thailand

30-Mar-2016

 

Thailand is rich in natural resources which form the foundation for its economic growth and cultural diversity. National parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and other types of protected areas cover about 18 per cent of the country’s total land and sea areas serving as strongholds of biodiversity and habitat conservation for critical ecosystems and species. They provide the basis for livelihoods and food security for thousands of communities across the country. Thailand’s biodiversity is globally significant. The recreational value of national parks in Thailand is undeniable, but the additional benefits obtained from the parks are not always recognised or appreciated.

The new book, Parks for Life: Why We Love Thailand’s National Parks, aims to create a better recognition of, and greater commitment and support to protect the country’s rich biodiversity. The publication advocates for investing in the management of protected areas to promote inclusive economic growth that takes the real value of biodiversity and ecosystems into account in decision-making in the country’s development. The book, a product of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Catalysing the Sustainability of Thailand’s Protected Area System (CATSPA) project in collaboration with the Department of National Parks, Plant and Wildlife Conservation (DNP), is generously funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

"Parks for Life illustrates the various dimensions that national parks and other protected areas benefit people’s well-being,” said world renowned conservationist and author of the book, Professor Jeffrey McNeely. “Protected areas offer economic benefits, food security, genetics resources, natural protection needed to prevent natural disasters, and to fight against climate change impacts, as well as build resilience,” he added. Dr. Songtam Suksawang, DNP’s Inspector General, protected areas management expert and co-author of the book said, “We hope that this book will help Thai, tourists and the general public understand more about the value of these areas and help protect them.”

The book also highlights the need to create partnerships and participation from communities and various sectors in managing the protected areas as highlighted by UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Thailand, Mr. Luc Stevens. “Effective and innovative management of protected areas, which creates more participation and support from communities and the wider public, will be fundamental to realizing Thailand’s vision of stability, prosperity, and sustainability. It will provide an important basis for Thailand’s positioning towards the post-2015 development agenda,” said Mr. Stevens. “Most importantly, this book pays tribute to officials, superintendents, rangers, and communities who work tirelessly to keep Thailand’s protected areas intact for future generations,” he added.

Acting Director General for DNP, Mr. Thanya Netithammakul said, “The DNP is committed to protect the country’s remaining areas, to strengthen their management to prevent and reduce threats as well as to enhance rehabilitation. It is hoped that this book will help us draw more partnership to work on this important and challenging task.”

Parks for Life is available for free distribution. For more information, please contact Ms. Sutharin Koonphol via email: sutharin.koonphol@undp.org