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Trisurat Y.,Kasetsart University | Eawpanich P.,Wildlife and Plant Conservation | Kalliola R.,University of Turku
Environmental Research | Year: 2016

The Thadee watershed, covering 112 km2, is the main source of water for agriculture and household consumption in the Nakhon Srithammarat Province in Southern Thailand. As the natural forests upstream have been largely degraded and transformed to fruit tree and rubber plantations, problems with landslides and flooding have resulted. This research attempts to predict how further land-use/land-cover changes during 2009-2020 and conceivable changes in rainfall may influence the future levels of water yield and sediment load in the Thadee River. Three different land use scenarios (trend, development and conservation) were defined in collaboration with the local stakeholders, and three different rainfall scenarios (average rainfall, climate change and extreme wet) were determined on the basis of literature sources. Spatially explicit empirical modelling was employed to allocate future land demands and to assess the contributions of land use and rainfall changes, considering both their separate and combined effects. The results suggest that substantial land use changes may occur from a large expansion of rubber plantations in the upper sub-watersheds, especially under the development land use scenario. The reduction of the current annual rainfall by approximately 30% would decrease the predicted water yields by 38% from 2009. According to the extreme rainfall scenario (an increase of 36% with respect to current rainfall), an amplification of 50% of the current runoff could result. Sensitivity analyses showed that the predicted soil loss is more responsive to changes in rainfall than to the compared land use scenarios alone. However, very high sediment load and runoff levels were predicted on the basis of combined intensified land use and extreme rainfall scenarios. Three conservation activities-protection, reforestation and a mixed-cropping system-are proposed to maintain the functional watershed services of the Thadee watershed region. © 2016 Elsevier Inc..


Trisurat Y.,Kasetsart University | Bhumpakphan N.,Kasetsart University | Reed D.H.,University of Louisville | Kanchanasaka B.,Wildlife and Plant Conservation
Journal for Nature Conservation | Year: 2012

Rapid deforestation has occurred in northern Thailand and is expected to continue. Thus, identification and protection of sufficient amounts of the highest quality habitat is urgent. Wildlife occurrence data were gathered along wildlife trails and patrolling routes in protected areas and forest patches outside of protected areas. Geographic Information Systems, bio-physical and anthropogenic variables were used to generate suitable habitats for 17 mammal species using maximum entropy theory (MAXENT). Suitable habitats for all species were aggregated, and used to set priorities for wildlife conservation in northern Thailand. In addition, predicted deforestation was overlaid on moderate and high priority areas to determine future wildlife threats and aid decision-making concerning which areas to protect. The results revealed that the total extent of suitable habitats for the studied species covers approximately 37% of the region. Nearly 70% of the total habitat for endangered and vulnerable species is predicted in large and contiguous protected areas. Threatened areas with high biodiversity encompass approximately 1.9% of the region, and 66% of this figure is predicted to occur in existing protected areas. Based on the model outcomes, we recommend reducing human pressures, enhancing the density of prey species and conservation outside protected areas, as well as increasing connectivity of suitable habitats among protected areas that are too small to maintain viable populations in isolation. © 2012 Elsevier GmbH.


News Article | November 24, 2015
Site: phys.org

The study by the wildlife trade monitoring network, TRAFFIC, and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) is based on research by Lancaster University's Dr Jacob Phelps. Conservative trade figures documented during the study suggest that tens of thousands of orchids are illegally traded across Thailand's borders every year, without either domestic harvest permits or Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) permits, violating range State and international restrictions on wild orchid harvest. Surveys during 2011–2012 in four of the largest wild plant markets in Thailand, including along the country's borders with Myanmar and Lao PDR, recorded 348 species of orchid for sale, representing 13 to 22 percent of the target countries' known orchid flora. The survey even found significant trade of species from the genus Paphiopedilum, all of which are listed in Appendix I of CITES, which bans the international trade of wild-collected specimens. At least 16 percent of the orchid species observed could be classified under some category of threat or were species found only in small or specific areas. The threat, however, is likely much higher since conservation status assessments have not been conducted for most of the species encountered. Several of the orchids first found in the markets were new to science. 'A Blooming Trade: Illegal trade of ornamental orchids in mainland Southeast Asia' identified Bangkok's Chatuchak market as a regional centre of botanical trade, hosting a large and unique richness of wild plant species, many of them illegally harvested. "The Chatuchak market has long been notorious as a major hub for the illegal trade in a wide variety of plants and animals—everything from orchids to tortoises, from ivory to eagles," said Dr Chris R. Shepherd, Regional Director for TRAFFIC in Southeast Asia. "We strongly urge the authorities in Thailand to shut down the illegal trade in this market for good." Report author Dr Phelps said: "The commercial trade of wild-collected ornamental plants in Southeast Asia is part of a global horticultural trade in beautiful, fragrant and unusual plant species but it has been almost completely overlooked. Despite being among the most protected group of plants in the world, we found clear evidence of an open, illegal trade. It is time to take botanical trade and conservation seriously - alongside efforts to reduce the illegal trades in elephant ivory, rhinoceros horn and pangolin scales. This is no different." Interviews with plant harvesters, traders and middlemen identified significant illegal international trade from Lao PDR and Myanmar into Thailand, highlighting demand for wild ornamental plants from local and regional sources. It also revealed complex trade chains involving highly organized middlemen specialized in the orchid and ornamental plant trade. Growing internet based trade and laundering of wild plants via registered commercial greenhouses was observed, as was a medicinal trade in orchids for consumption in Viet Nam and China. The report calls on Thai government agencies, CITES parties, the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network and conservation organizations to formally recognize the phenomenon, and urgently improve monitoring of not only the trade in charismatic animals species, but also of wild plants. The author also argues that the considerable implications of the illegal trade warrant far greater attention from Thailand's CITES management authority for plants, as well as the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and the Royal Forest Department. More information: A blooming trade: Illegal trade of ornamental orchids in mainland Southeast Asia (Thailand, Lao PDR, Myanmar). static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/157301/26694012/1448362157923/A+blooming+trade+Report+_+17th+Nov_FINAL.pdf?token=YeQt5ctv%2FbPNaRO8QJECOl%2BYPNQ%3D


Steinmetz R.,World Wide Fund for Nature Thailand | Chutipong W.,World Wide Fund for Nature Thailand | Seuaturien N.,World Wide Fund for Nature Thailand | Chirngsaard E.,Wildlife and Plant Conservation | Khaengkhetkarn M.,Wildlife and Plant Conservation
Biological Conservation | Year: 2010

Large ungulate populations in Southeast Asia have collapsed due to commercial poaching, but little is known about patterns of population recovery after poaching has been controlled. Using a sign-based index of abundance, we measured 6-year trends in abundance and habitat use of five ungulate species after poaching ceased at a site in Thailand. Regression slopes of annual indices against time indicated population growth rates (r) of 0.44 and 0.31 for muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak) and gaur (Bos gaurus), respectively-close to the intrinsic rates of natural increase for similarly-sized ungulates. Thus, muntjac and gaur can recover relatively rapidly from low population levels. In contrast, sambar (Cervus unicolor) remained consistently rare despite freedom from hunting, perhaps because prime males had been selectively targeted for trophies, disrupting the species mating system. Wild pigs (Sus scrofa) were already relatively abundant when monitoring started, illustrating their resilience to hunting and ability to quickly recolonize disturbed areas. Gaur herds (the key demographic unit of the population) and muntjac consistently selected deciduous over evergreen forest as their populations increased, revealing the importance of food-rich deciduous forest in driving recovery of these species. The unexpected failure of sambar to recover suggests that reproductive behavior may override seemingly positive interventions (i.e., stopping poaching) that reduce mortality. Small but well-protected recovery zones set within forested areas might help propel population recovery of ungulates and increase the prey base for endangered tigers. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


News Article | January 5, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

The Bronx Zoo welcomed two baby western lowland gorillas in 2015. This youngster is content to hitch a ride on his mom's back. More Stephen Sautner is WCS executive director of communications; Max Pulsinelli is director of communications for WCS's zoos and aquarium; Julie Larsen Maher is staff photographer for the WCS and the first woman to hold the position since the society's founding in 1895. In addition to documenting conservation work in some of WCS' 500 field programs in 60 countries around the world, Maher photographs animals and events at WCS' five New York-based wildlife parks: the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, New York Aquarium, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo. The authors contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights. Each year, the Wildlife Conservation Society — which protects wildlife and habitats in nearly 60 nations and the world's oceans — compiles a list of its favorite wildlife images out of the literally thousands our scientists capture from camera traps and field work. Then, we add the best images from our flagship Bronx Zoo, where we're headquartered, with images coming from staff photographer Julie Larsen Maher (whose Live Science photo essays have featured animals from spiders to hippos). Our favorite wildlife photos for 2015 come from far-flung corners of the planet, such as the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan, home of the elusive snow leopard, and Bolivia's Madidi National Park, where a new species of frog was discovered earlier this year. The zoo images are our picks for the best shots representing new animals, notable animal births and exhibit openings. A serious "cute" factor is well-represented, from a baby gorilla riding mom's back to an adorable baby porcupine from the Bronx Zoo's newly renovated Children's Zoo. Together, all of the images represent the incredible, often beautiful, and diverse wildlife found throughout the planet — and underscore the need to protect them. You can see the 2015 WCS favorite images below, and some of our top galleries for Live Science in Elusive Siberian Tigers Captured in Brilliant Images, Bad-Rap Bats in Danger of Extinction Around the World and 8 Baby Turtles and Tortoises: Cute, and Critically Endangered. This North American porcupine pup was born at the Bronx Zoo's Children's Zoo shortly after it reopened after undergoing extensive renovations. (Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS) A pair of lesser adjutant storks served as surrogate parents to a chick hatched from an abandoned egg. This pair raised the chick along with one of their own. (Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS) An Asian small-clawed otter alongside a pup born at the Bronx Zoo's JungleWorld in the summer of 2015. (Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS) A scarlet macaw flies over Astor Court in front of the Bronx Zoo's historic Zoo Center during a free-flight bird show. (Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS) An adult female gelada baboon carries her baby on her back in the Bronx Zoo's Baboon Reserve. This was the first gelada born at the Bronx Zoo in 13 years. The Bronx Zoo is the only zoo in the U.S. to exhibit the species. (Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS) The Bronx Zoo's Aquatic Bird House is home to a colony of little blue penguins. This was a new species for the zoo in 2015. (Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS) The Bronx Zoo welcomed two baby western lowland gorillas in 2015. This youngster is content to hitch a ride on his mom's back. (Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS) An adult female western lowland gorilla holds her baby in Congo Gorilla Forest. (Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS) Welcome to the family This giant anteater is one of the new species added to the Children's Zoo in 2015. (Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS) A Fito leaf chameleon, one of many species found exclusively on the island of Madagascar. (Credit: Felx Ratelolahy/WCS) A shy-looking Asian elephant caught by a camera trap in Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in Thailand. (Credit: Dept. of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and WCS Thailand Program)


Matsui N.,Kanso Technos Co. | Morimune K.,Kansai Electric Power Co. | Meepol W.,Ranong Mangrove Forest Research Center | Chukwamdee J.,Wildlife and Plant Conservation
Forests | Year: 2012

Forest carbon stocks-both in terms of the standing biomass and the soil organic carbon (OC)-were monitored in the mangrove plantation reforested from an abandoned shrimp pond for the 10 years following land excavation. Excavation to a level of 25 cm below the existing ground level increased the inundation time of tidal water from 463 to 7,597 hours per year, resulting in a significant increase of survival/growth rates for planted mangrove species, Rhizophora mucronata (RM) and Bruguiera cylindrica (BC), and of carbon stocks as well. RM showed high rates of standing biomass accumulation with 98.7 ton/ha while 28.8 ton/ha for BC was measured over 10 years in the excavated area. In contrast, the unexcavated area showed low rates of biomass accumulation, 1.04 ton/ha for RM and 0.53 ton/ha for BC in the same period. The excavated area recorded a twofold increase of soil OC in the upper 5 cm of the surface soil from 71.8 to 154.8 ton/ha in 10 years, however it decreased to 68.3 ton/ha in the unexcavated area where soil OC is susceptible to decomposition. These results imply that the potential of carbon sinks in reforested land from abandoned areas cannot be developed unless hydraulic conditions are properly recovered. The fast growing species Avicennia marina (AM) grew quickly for the first two years after colonization but its growth slowed down afterwards, showing a limited ability of carbon capture. © 2012 by the authors.


News Article | June 9, 2016
Site: www.techtimes.com

On Tuesday, a tiger meat slaughterhouse was discovered near a Thai Buddhist temple. The Wat Pa Luang Ta Maha Bua (Tiger Temple) in the Sai Yok district is a famous tourist attraction where people pay to walk tigers on leashes and take photos with them. After receiving a tip, the Thai police raided a home in western Thailand's Kanchanaburi province. The isolated house is about 30 miles from the Tiger Temple and is covered by tall fences. Authorities discovered four live tigers — two males and two females — as well as a dozen empty cages. The two male tigers were aged 10 and 1 while the two female tigers were aged 10 and 2. Authorities believed that the home is acting as a slaughter house and a holding facility for the live animals. "We believe it was used by the Tiger Temple to hold live tigers before slaughtering them for their skins, meat and bones to be exported outside the country, or sent to restaurants in Thailand that serve tiger meat to tour groups," said police colonel Montri Pancharoen, Crime Suppression Division deputy commander who led the raid. The said slaughterhouse contained several knives, a large chopping board, a large refrigerator, several tiger food and other equipment thought to be used to help relocate the animals. According to the two detained caretakers, the tigers were private properties of the house's owner. The caretakers said the house belongs to 68-year-old Thawat Khachornchaikul who is also known as Sia Tong. The alleged owner was not there when the raid took place. Pancharoen added that the Tiger Temple could simply be a supplier, stating that they have information that the temple isn't the only one supplying tigers to illegal smugglers. The discovery of the slaughterhouse is just the latest in the current scandal surrounding the Tiger Temple. About 40 dead tiger cubs were discovered in a freezer while 20 more were found preserved in jars. Authorities were able to retrieve over 137 live tigers from the temple grounds. The DNA of the four live tigers discovered in the alleged slaughterhouse will be compared to the DNA of the tigers retrieved from the Tiger Temple. Montri also said that an investigation will also look if the four slaughterhouse tigers are linked to the three tigers that were reported missing from the Tiger Temple way back in 2014. Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation have filed several complaints about the abbot for the mistreatment of tigers. The Thai government also suspected that the temple monks are somehow involved in the animal tracking and illegal breeding activities. © 2016 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.


Vlam M.,Wageningen University | Baker P.J.,University of Melbourne | Bunyavejchewin S.,Wildlife and Plant Conservation | Zuidema P.A.,Wageningen University
Oecologia | Year: 2014

Climate change effects on growth rates of tropical trees may lead to alterations in carbon cycling of carbon-rich tropical forests. However, climate sensitivity of broad-leaved lowland tropical trees is poorly understood. Dendrochronology (tree-ring analysis) provides a powerful tool to study the relationship between tropical tree growth and annual climate variability. We aimed to establish climate-growth relationships for five annual-ring forming tree species, using ring-width data from 459 canopy and understory trees from a seasonal tropical forest in western Thailand. Based on 183/459 trees, chronologies with total lengths between 29 and 62 years were produced for four out of five species. Bootstrapped correlation analysis revealed that climate-growth responses were similar among these four species. Growth was significantly negatively correlated with current-year maximum and minimum temperatures, and positively correlated with dry-season precipitation levels. Negative correlations between growth and temperature may be attributed to a positive relationship between temperature and autotrophic respiration rates. The positive relationship between growth and dry-season precipitation levels likely reflects the strong water demand during leaf flush. Mixed-effect models yielded results that were consistent across species: a negative effect of current wet-season maximum temperatures on growth, but also additive positive effects of, for example, prior dry-season maximum temperatures. Our analyses showed that annual growth variability in tropical trees is determined by a combination of both temperature and precipitation variability. With rising temperature, the predominantly negative relationship between temperature and growth may imply decreasing growth rates of tropical trees as a result of global warming. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Adachi M.,Japan National Institute of Environmental Studies | Ito A.,Japan National Institute of Environmental Studies | Ishida A.,Kyoto University | Kadir W.R.,Malaysian Forest Research Institute | And 2 more authors.
Biogeosciences | Year: 2011

More reliable estimates of the carbon (C) stock within forest ecosystems and C emission induced by deforestation are urgently needed to mitigate the effects of emissions on climate change. A process-based terrestrial biogeochemical model (VISIT) was applied to tropical primary forests of two types (a seasonal dry forest in Thailand and a rainforest in Malaysia) and one agro-forest (an oil palm plantation in Malaysia) to estimate the C budget of tropical ecosystems in Southeast Asia, including the impacts of land-use conversion. The observed aboveground biomass in the seasonal dry tropical forest in Thailand (226.3 t C ha -1) and the rainforest in Malaysia (201.5 t C ha -1) indicate that tropical forests of Southeast Asia are among the most C-abundant ecosystems in the world. The model simulation results in rainforests were consistent with field data, except for the NEP, however, the VISIT model tended to underestimate C budget and stock in the seasonal dry tropical forest. The gross primary production (GPP) based on field observations ranged from 32.0 to 39.6 t C ha -1 yr -1 in the two primary forests, whereas the model slightly underestimated GPP (26.5-34.5 t C ha -1 yr -1). The VISIT model appropriately captured the impacts of disturbances such as deforestation and land-use conversions on the C budget. Results of sensitivity analysis showed that the proportion of remaining residual debris was a key parameter determining the soil C budget after the deforestation event. According to the model simulation, the total C stock (total biomass and soil C) of the oil palm plantation was about 35% of the rainforest's C stock at 30 yr following initiation of the plantation. However, there were few field data of C budget and stock, especially in oil palm plantation. The C budget of each ecosystem must be evaluated over the long term using both the model simulations and observations to understand the effects of climate and land-use conversion on C budgets in tropical forest ecosystems. © Author(s) 2011.


Hayasaka D.,Japan National Institute of Environmental Studies | Goka K.,Japan National Institute of Environmental Studies | Thawatchai W.,Wildlife and Plant Conservation | Fujiwara K.,Yokohama City University
Biodiversity and Conservation | Year: 2012

Our knowledge of how coastal species react to, and recover from, tsunamis is deficient because of the infrequency of these events, despite the importance of such information for ecological risk assessment of coastal hazards. To elucidate the differences in resilience among species and the successional processes of coastal sand-dune flora after tsunamis, we monitored the ecological impacts of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami on coastal sand-dune species on Phuket Island, Thailand. Using 127 floristic inventory datasets, we compared the occurrence, species composition, characteristics, and eco-morphological adaptations of coastal sand-dune species before and after the tsunami. Among the 73 species recognized, the occurrences of 28 changed significantly after the tsunami. The impacts on coastal sand-dune species of non-coastal sand-dune species invading the dunes after the disaster were temporary and minimal, perhaps because of constant coastal stresses such as sand movement and salt spray. Damage to woody species was less than that to herbaceous species. There were clear post-tsunami differences in the successional trajectories of coastal sand-dune flora (particularly herbaceous vegetation) between protected beaches with low-level anthropogenic disturbance and resort beaches. The tsunami-related qualitative variations on each beach were clearly explained not by changes in the Shannon-Wiener diversity index but by differences in species number (i. e., species richness). Numbers of coastal sand-dune species (particularly monophytes and those growing clonally by stolons) decreased significantly on protected beaches after the tsunami. We suggest that the recovery process-including its direction, trajectory, and duration-in coastal sand-dune species after tsunamis depends strongly on the individual beach structure and the degree of anthropogenic disturbance, including trampling pressure and beach development. Evaluation of species in terms of functional traits is effective for assessing sand-dune status after tsunamis. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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