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Phetchaburi Project


Location: Phetchaburi, Thailand

Objectives

  1. gibbon habitat restoration
  2. establish tree nursery
  3. environmental education

Project Overview

Tropical and sub-tropical forests cover only 16.8% of Earth’s land area. However, they are home to more than half the planet’s plant and animal species on earth. Forest in Thailand has decreased from 60% in 1961 to less than 20% now. PATT Foundation joined with the Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand (WFFT) to restore the forest within its Wildlife Rescue Center (WRC) in Phetchaburi province.

The forest regeneration and habitat restoration will provide quasi-natural conditions for its gibbon rehabilitation area, before the animals are released back into the wild. A tree nursery was established to initiate and expand the project over time and gain experience and research results regarding growing the key framework species.

The main objectives of this project are:

  • To restore degraded forest back to its original state for the purposes of wildlife rehabilitation
  • To establish an ongoing resource centre for environmental education based on reforestation, nursery practices, wildlife rehabilitation and ecology
  • Education and Training, with the site developed as an education resource centre and nursery
  • To plant 20,000 native trees within 3 years providing vegetation, biodiversity & valuable ecosystems

UAP Ltd, one of Europe’s most prominent specialist suppliers of Decorative Door Hardware and related products, based in the UK, has supported this project. Their financial contribution was made to offset some of their CO2 emissions.

Project Details

Currently the area near the centre is not suitable for wildlife rehabilitation due to the degraded nature of its forest. Animals are in large enclosures containing gibbons, and seven islands in a lake populated by gibbons. The gibbons on the islands are basically without direct human contact.

At the Wildlife Rescue Centre there are also many other wildlife inhabitants, including monkeys, elephants, and more than 20 bears. However, living conditions for the animals can improve if some of the animals are given the opportunity to be reintroduced in their natural habitat. This will be possible after the forest restoration has taken place.

WFFT requested the expertise and support of PATT Foundation to set up the nursery based on the best practice standard for enrichment planting of degraded forest, the “framework tree species method”. PATT has created a tree nursery at the Wildlife Rescue Centre in Phetchaburi, which can serve as a basis for the restoration project of a degraded forest area next to the centre. PATT’s role has been to coordinate the project and assist with the technical background for the forest restoration while supplying key staff to manage the project. The final vision is to have the WFFT centre integrated as a resource centre for educational purposes. PATT has involved a botanist from the Forest Restoration Research Unit at the University of Chiang Mai with more than 10 years of experience in forest restoration.

The WRC project site is located behind Kao Look Chang Temple in Phetchaburi province, approximately 160 kilometers south of Bangkok. The altitude above sealevel is 60 meters. The forest is under control of WFFT but is officially owned by the monastery whose Abbot is very interested in forest restoration. The forest is mainly deciduous with small patches of bamboo and covers an area of 1500 rai (240ha).

Nursery: PATT and WFFT have set up a working nursery on the location used to grow the framework species needed for forest restoration. The nursery will also be an ongoing opportunity for tree growing education and a location where interactive learning programs and research can be implemented. Training will be provided to local staff in nursery management.

Forest regeneration: The project will use accelerated natural regeneration techniques. Missing key framework species have been planted causing the biodiversity to increase and animals that disperse more species’ seeds will be attracted. Data and research can be collected and used for educational purposes through all stages of the restoration and the finished product may act as a showpiece for forest restoration techniques.

Animal rehabilitation: The forest that will be completed with the original tree species will provide a broader variety of fruits that play an important role in the habitat of gibbons and other primates. The forest will therefore be an excellent facility to teach rehabilitating gibbons to gather food as in the wild.

This project is supported by: