CHIANG RAI – Soldiers and police officers have reclaimed more than 5,000 rai of encroached land in Huai Sak National Park of Chiang Rai province.
A group of soldiers, police officers and Phaya Mengrai district officials traveled to Huai Sak National Park and Pa Mae Kok National Forest Reserves to inspect the encroached areas.
More than 5,000 rai located near Phaya Mengrai and Wiang Chiang Rung districts have been used for illegal farming activities. According to satellite imagery, the encroachment began in 2002 on 1,700 rai of forest.
It has expanded to 5,020 rai this year after more than a decade. Of that figure, around 3,480 rai has been occupied by plantations of rubber trees, orange, corn, cassava and ginger, as well as a wooden house. Authorities also discovered evidence of logging activities.
Local farmers, who have encroached on the national park and the forest reserves, have indicated that they are willing to leave the protected areas. However, authorities have allowed them to stay until their crops can be harvested, on a condition that they do not use any chemical or pesticide on their crops as it could contaminate nearby water sources.
By Nuppol Suvansombut