Thailand: The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, Thailand, unveiled a new satellite map that will be used to resolve conflicts on forestland encroachment. The new, 1:4,000-scale, map was introduced at a public forum on the problem of forest encroachment held by the ministry at Chulabhorn Research Institute.
The ministry first began making the map in 2009 in order to study areas being encroached on as well as reshape boundaries of forest reserves, national parks and state-owned land.
The ministry spent more than THB (Thai Baht) 2 billion, taken from the Global Environmental Fund, to have private firm ESRI Thailand study and draw up the map.
For the project, ESRI Thailand collected more than 187,699 satellite images, taken between 1952 and 2000 by several state agencies, to study the extent of encroachment on forest land and compare it with forest boundaries announced in 1941.
“This map will be used to prove land ownership in court in order to resolve conflicts. The map will show exactly where people live and if they are encroaching on forests,” said Sunant Arunnoppharat, director of the Environmental Quality Promotion Department. This map would only be available to state agencies such as the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to investigate land conflicts.
Source: The Nation