|Protected Areas in Thailand
National Park Division
A National Park is an area of at least ten square kilometres that contains natural resources of ecological importance or unique beauty, or flora and fauna of special importance. An area may also be declared national park for its historical or cultural features.
National Parks are managed by the central government (not by the provincial government) and have staff to strictly enforce protection regulations. These regulations prohibit the use of the parks for anything except tourism services, so that the natural resources might be preserved for a long time.
In the late 1990s, the cabinet approved a national forest policy which confirmed the standing policy of maintaining at least 40% of the country area as forested area. This area is to be divided into two categories: protected forest (25%) and productive forest (15%). Protected forests are all those sites set aside for nature conservation, watershed protection, research or recreation and include forest parks and national parks.
Presently there are 102 National Parks (81 National Parks and 21 Marine National Parks) covering an area of 52,264 km2 or 9.6% of the country's area. For forest parks, there are 66 areas.
The park system is managed by the Marine National Park Division (MNPD) and the National Park Division (NDP), which are controlled by the National Park Committee comprising representatives from other government agencies such as Universities, the Department of Environment and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
For more information on National Parks and Forest Parks, visit the portal of the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department.
Marine National Park Division
The MNPD is responsible for protection, management and operation of Marine Parks.
This marine system in Thailand was crested by a re-organization of the National Parks Division. All the National Parks with a significant marine or coastal section was included in the new Marine National Parks Division, which consists now of 21 marine or coastal parks, with a further 3 areas being considered as additional protected areas. These MNPs are largely concentrate in Andaman Sea.
Wildlife Conservation Division
Among the other things, this Division deals with the supervision of 53 Wildlife Sanctuaries and 6 areas under declaration and the supervision of 55 Non-Hunting Areas, as well as with the management of 19 Wildlife Conservation Development and Extension Stations.
Source: Natural Resources Conservation Office, Royal Forest Department; World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA)