Chapter 3: Overview of Shrimp Farming and Mangrove Loss in Thailand
Sanit Aksornkoae and Ruangrai Tokrisna THE PRESENT STATUS AND LOSS OF MANGROVE FOREST The Present Status of Mangrove Forest The mangrove ecosystem is totally different from most other ecosystems. Mangroves are unique and have special, highly complex characteristics. They are transitional ecosystems between land and sea and between freshwater and seawater. In Thailand, the existing mangrove forest can be found mainly in six provinces along the Andaman Sea Coast and in 16 provinces along the Gulf of Thailand coast (see Figure 3.1).1 Mangroves are present on approximately 50 per cent of the 2614 km coastline of the country. In a recent survey, Charuppat and Charuppat (1997) estimated the total existing mangrove forest to be approximately 167 582 ha, using Landsat-5 data. Of the estimated total mangrove forest area, approximately 80 per cent can be found along the Andaman Sea coast, which is the western part of the Southern Thailand peninsula. However, the mangrove forest in Thailand was approximately 367 900 ha in 1961. Thirty-five years later, the mangrove area has been reduced to slightly more than half its original size. Mangrove Forest Loss Mangrove forest areas in Thailand have been destroyed or degraded at an alarming rate. They have been reclaimed for different purposes such as aquaculture, agriculture, resettlement areas, urbanization, salt production, road and transmission lines set-up, mining, construction of ports and harbors, dredging, build-up of various industries and power plants. It was estimated that, between 1961 and 1996, an estimated area of 204 865 ha of mangrove...
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