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Khao Yai National Park’s Encroachment Drama: A Battle for Preservation Amidst Agricultural Encroachments

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Imagine a verdant paradise, teeming with wildlife and the raw, enchanting beauty of nature. This is Khao Yai National Park, a gem nestled in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. Yet, beneath its lush canopy, a drama unfolds that pits the guardians of this natural sanctuary against the specter of encroachment. A vigilant community bands together, flocking to the park office to voice their outcry against the alleged appropriation of 2,900 rai of this pristine land, feared to be maliciously transformed to cater to agricultural pursuits. A photograph capturing this assembly speaks volumes, echoing their determined stand against the encroachment. (Photo: Prasit Tangprasert)

The echo from The Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) travels through the realms of conservation and agriculture, unraveling the narrative that the government’s policy of distributing land title deeds to earnest farmers treads separately from the shadow of land encroachment. This looming threat menaces over 100,000 rai (an astonishing 39,536 acres) of the nation’s verdant treasure. DNP’s director-general, the esteemed Attapol Charoenchansa, channels this message through CU Radio of Chulalongkorn University, illustrating a clear line of demarcation between policy intentions and the unfortunate outcomes of encroachment.

Amid the hullabaloo, the backstory of the government’s initiative, under the helm of the Pheu Thai Party-led coalition, unfolds. This noble endeavor sought to empower farmers by turning the lands they reside on into official land title deeds, a gateway to loans and a beacon of job security. Yet, this well-meaning policy cast an unintended shadow over Khao Yai National Park when the DNP stumbled upon a revelation. An audacious 2,900 rai, ear-marked for this transformative Sor Por Kor issuance, lay within the borders of Khao Yai National Park, igniting a quest to reclaim these lands from the Agriculture Land Reform Office (Arlo).

Tuesday brought a twist as Arlo realigned its ranks, transferring six of its officials from Nakhon Ratchasima to Bangkok, a prelude to a thorough investigation into the alleged encroachments, raising eyebrows and questions alike. This narrative is further thickened by the estimate from National Park Office director Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn, painting a broader canvas of over 150,000 rai of national park land under siege, eyed covetously for conversion into agricultural reform land.

Mr. Attapol stands as a pillar behind his comrade’s claims, advocating that these figures merely scratch the surface, derived from preliminary data. The ministry is now embarking on a meticulous expedition, entrusting its surveyors with the task of mapping the full extent of this encroachment saga. The ministry, a guardian of state lands in no less than 400 locales spanning the nation, from resplendent national parks to reserved areas, finds its resolve tested, as most of these lands recline under the watchful eyes of the DNP and Royal Forestry Department.

In a twist of fate, whispers of a deal on national park land flutter through the air, promising a resolution that will uphold the sanctity of these natural bastions. As the tale of Khao Yai unfolds, it beckons us to ponder the delicate balance between nurturing our farmers and preserving our natural heritage, a narrative that continues to captivate and challenge us.


  1. EcoWarrior89 February 23, 2024

    This encroachment issue at Khao Yai National Park is a disgrace. It’s clear that preserving our natural parks should be a priority over agricultural expansion. The government must enforce stricter policies to protect these lands.

    • AgriAdvocate February 23, 2024

      While I understand the need for conservation, we must also consider the livelihood of our farmers. They need land to grow crops and support their families. There has to be a balanced approach to this issue.

      • EcoWarrior89 February 23, 2024

        A balanced approach is one thing, but encroaching on national park land is not the answer. There are other ways to support farmers without threatening our natural heritage. We need sustainable solutions, not short-term fixes.

      • FarmerJoe February 23, 2024

        Not all farmers have the luxury to choose where they farm. Many of us are struggling and the land we work on is all we have. We respect the land and don’t intend to harm it.

    • NatLover February 23, 2024

      Completely agree with EcoWarrior89. Our national parks are treasures that need to be protected at all costs. Encroachment for agriculture or any other reason undermines conservation efforts and jeopardizes biodiversity.

  2. PolicyWhiz February 23, 2024

    The government’s policy of distributing land title deeds to farmers without ensuring they’re not encroaching on protected areas is a massive oversight. It’s creating conflict between conservation and agricultural needs which could have been avoided with better planning.

    • Realist2023 February 23, 2024

      It’s easy to blame the government, but the reality is, managing land resources is complex. Yes, there was an oversight, but the intention was to help farmers. What we need now is cooperation, not conflict.

      • PolicyWhiz February 23, 2024

        I understand the complexity, but these are national parks we’re talking about. The government should have clear and non-negotiable guidelines about protecting these areas. Cooperation starts with accountability.

  3. GreenThumbLucy February 23, 2024

    It’s heartbreaking to see the land of Khao Yai National Park under threat. These lands are irreplaceable habitats for wildlife and a sanctuary for nature lovers. We must rally to protect it.

    • ConcernedCitizen February 23, 2024

      How can ordinary people like us help? It feels like these issues are bigger than anything we can influence.

      • ActivistRay February 23, 2024

        It starts with awareness. Talk about it, share on social media, join conservation groups, and support policies that protect our natural spaces. Every action counts.

      • GreenThumbLucy February 23, 2024

        I second what ActivistRay said. And don’t underestimate the power of community. Together, we can make a difference.

  4. HistoryBuff February 23, 2024

    It’s fascinating yet sad to see history repeating itself. Land disputes and encroachment issues have been around for centuries. When will we learn that our survival depends on coexistence and respect for nature?

  5. LocalJoe February 23, 2024

    As someone living near Khao Yai, it’s a complex issue. We all want to protect the park, but we also need to understand and address the needs of the local communities and farmers.

    • CitySlicker February 23, 2024

      It’s easy for us city folks to say protect the park at all costs, but we’re not the ones having to make tough choices on the ground. Maybe there’s room for compromise?

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