Thailand: The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, Thailand, has invested over 2.3 billion baht in the digital GIS as a major tool to settle land disputes between locals living in forests and the authorities.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, said, “The technology is a good beginning to deal with the problem. However, it doesn’t mean the problem of forest land encroachment will be completely resolved.”
Use of the GIS to settle forest boundaries countrywide is scheduled for completion in 2012. It will be a key tool in proving the legal rights to forest land for about 600,000 people living in forest reserves and national park areas, who are now waiting for their land rights to be clarified. Suwit Khunkitti, environment minister, said, “I was confident that land disputes will be resolved easily using the digital survey, which will be able to identify the owner of occupied land. If they lived there before the forest reserve or national park’s announcement, they will get the land right documents. If not, they should leave the areas.”
He added that 198 hot spots where there had been serious land encroachment in 30 provinces were the first priority of the survey. The GIS procedure has collected 400,000 aerial photographs taken between the first such aerial photography in 1952 and the latest in 2002. That information will be transferred into digital mapping and to the Google Earth system.
Source: Bangkok Post