Sustainable Management of Peatland in Thailand

Peatland in Thailand covers about 60,331 ha of land, most of which is concentrated along the eastern shoreline of the peninsula. About 69% thereof is found to stretch across the Narathiwat Province, located near the Malaysian border. The majority of this peat soil contains a large quantity of woody materials of relatively high fiber content (fibric soil material). Generally, the thickness of the peat layer seldom exceeds 3 m and is underlain mostly by muddy clay layer rich with pyrite. The organic soil materials have low bulk density, very high organic carbon, wide carbon and nitrogen ratio, extremely high acid, high cation exchange capacity but very low exchangeable bases and trace elements such as copper, zinc, and manganese. According to the United States Department of Agriculture Soil Taxonomy, most of them are placed under Typic Haplofibrists, Fluvaquentic Haplofibrists, Terric Haplofibrists, and Terric Sulfibemists. During the late 1960s, parts of these soils were utilized to meet the demand on land for agriculture, especially for the production of paddy rice, vegetables, and oil palm. The common practices included establishment of drainage system, forest burning, land clearing, construction of infrastructures, and cultivation. However, those agricultural developments appear to be unsuccessful and unsustainable in most cases despite having involved the governmental intervention. In light of that, the national management strategy was developed in Narathiwat Province where most swamps have been used. Under the supervision of the Pikun Thong Royal Development Study Centre as initiated by His Majesty, the Late King Rama IX, the land use zonation was established comprising three basic zones, namely development zone, conservation zone, and preservation zone. Each zone has been assigned to specific task force in which the concerned government agencies work together by the means of integration approach. Furthermore, researches on various aspects of peatland management especially soil characteristics, peatland crops and soil management, mechanization, drainage control, and water management are still needed.
  • Authors: Vijarnsorn, P.
  • Author Affiliation: Chaipattana Foundation
  • Subjects: pyrites, drainage, land use, peatlands, ecosystem management, peat soils, soil properties
  • Publication type: Chapter-R
  • Source: Osaki, M., Tsuji, N., Foead, N., Rieley, J., (eds). 2021. Tropical Peatland Eco-management. 725-750
  • Year: 2021
  • ISSN: 978-981-334-654-3
  • DOI:
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