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Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex

Thailand
Factors affecting the property in 2014*
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Land conversion
  • Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Water infrastructure
  • Other Threats:

    Forest fragmentation / Need for ecological corridors

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Illegal activities (poaching and illegal logging);
  • Road expansion, in particular regarding Highway 304;
  • Forest fragmentation, connectivity and the need for ecological corridors;
  • Encroachment;
  • Management Planning;
  • Tourism and visitor levels;
  • Dams and cattle grazing.
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2014
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2014**

February/March 2012: joint UNESCO/IUCN reactive monitoring mission; January 2014: IUCN reactive monitoring mission. 

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2014

An IUCN reactive monitoring mission visited the property on 13-17 January 2014. Subsequently, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report on 21 February 2014. Both reports are available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/590/documents. Following a letter from the World Heritage Centre to the State Party on 10 April 2014, the State Party provided additional information on 22 April 2014. The State Party notes progress on a number of conservation issues raised by the Committee at its previous sessions, as follows:

  • Efforts aimed at mitigating the impact of the expansion of Highway 304 to four lanes and the associated construction of wildlife corridors include environmental measures (reforestation, artificial salt licks and check dams as well as fences) and speed limit enforcements. Construction of the extra lanes and wildlife corridors, as well as the implementation of the Environmental Management Plan is scheduled to begin in 2015. The Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) for the sections of Highway 304 from km 26 to 29 and from km 42 to 57 have been approved by the Expert Committee on EIA and are awaiting approval from the National Environment Board and the Thai cabinet;
  • Implementation of mitigation measures related to the construction of Huay Samong Dam, including environmental monitoring to prevent impact on the property during the construction and operation phases;
  • Land use and encroachment monitoring is currently being undertaken based on data from 2003 and 2011, and is expected to be completed in 2014. Zoning measures are being taken to assist with effective administration, but these are not specified. The State Party maintains plans to submit a request for boundary modifications to assist with addressing issues of encroachment. Aside from more efficient patrolling plans, no further information is provided on how encroachment, land tenure issues, illegal structures and the rehabilitation of degraded land are being addressed;
  • Efforts to address the illegal logging of high value timbers within the property, particularly Siamese Rosewood (Dalbergia cochinchinensis) include increased cooperation between concerned administration agencies, police, army and local forest protection units as well as bilateral cooperation agreements with the State Party of Cambodia;
  • Programmes are being implemented to increase cooperation with local communities and to provide educational training in order to increase support for the management of the property;
  • The total number of livestock fell from 673 to 253, however it is not clear when these numbers were recorded. A number of measures, such as information dissemination and clear demarcation of grazing zones, have been developed with the local communities to avoid illegal grazing in the property by the remaining livestock;
  • Specific efforts in regards to overall management of the property include plans for extension of the property, a recently completed revision of the management plan, and sister park arrangements between Khao Yai National Park and the World Heritage property of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, USA. 
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2014

The implementation and planning of further mitigation measures indicate that important progress has been made to address impacts from Highway 304 and its expansion work. However, the IUCN reactive monitoring mission noted that there are plans for re-opening Route 3462 as well as ongoing discussions on an expansion of National Highway 348, both of which cross the property. Both these plans would likely have a considerable negative impact on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). Therefore it is recommended that the Committee urge the State Party to not permit the re-opening or expansion of any roads crossing the property.

The continued implementation of mitigation measures to address potential impacts during the construction of the Huay Samong Dam is also noted. It is important to develop a clear management plan, including specific impact mitigation measures for the area beyond the construction phase of the dam. The State Party, in its additional information of 22 April 2014, confirms information received by IUCN that planning for the Huay Saton Dam project in the Klang Dong area of Ta Phraya National Park started in 1984. This dam, if approved, would inundate important wildlife habitats in the property. The feasibility study for this project has not yet been approved by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) and the Government, and an EIA has not yet been carried out. It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to make a commitment to not allow any additional dam constructions that are likely to have an impact on the property.

The State Party’s ongoing efforts to monitor land use and encroachment are also welcomed. However, the mission noted that the property continues to be under heavy pressure from encroachment, neighbouring land use practices and resort developments. Furthermore, the mission noted a tense relationship between the authorities and some local communities, which is likely to not only impact on management effectiveness but also on the communities’ engagement with and support for the long-term conservation of the property. Overall, low effectiveness of current management efforts to address land use, encroachment and conflicts with communities remains one of the highest risks to the OUV of the property. An English version of the updated management plan should therefore be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN as soon as it becomes available.

There is a strong commitment of the State Party to address the issue of illegal logging of Siamese Rosewood (Dalbergia cochinchinensis), and commendable efforts continue to be made in that regard, including among other measures the establishment of a Special Prevention and Suppression Task Force, multi-agency patrols and increased law enforcement. Siamese Rosewood was also added to CITES Appendix II in March 2013 to regulate international trade. However, the mission noted that illegal logging by armed gangs within the boundaries of the property continues to escalate, including continued violent encounters with park staff. The mission also noted that the rate at which illegal logging has increased in the last 12 months has outpaced the ability of park officials to address this issue. Therefore, the illegal logging and trade of Siamese Rosewood and other valuable timber species are a severe threat to the property’s OUV and remain a cause for serious concern. Furthermore, the State Party also confirmed the reports received by IUCN that at least three rangers were injured in recent shoot-outs, and that park staff are regularly threatened. It also explained that measures have been taken to increase the level of law enforcement, but there is an urgent need for prioritisation of this issue at the highest political level, in close collaboration with other States Parties concerned, and for adequate resources to be made available to ensure sustained management action.

Both the severe and escalating threat of illegal logging, and the continued pressure from encroachment, including resort developments, represent a clear ascertained danger to the OUV of the property and thus the criteria for inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger are met, in conformity with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines. Therefore, it is recommended that the Committee inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2014
38 COM 7B.71
Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex (Thailand) (N 590rev)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.15, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Notes with concern that the threat of illegal logging and trade of Siamese Rosewood (Dalbergia cochinchinensis) continues, despite commendable efforts by the State Party and park rangers to address this issue, sometimes at great personal risk, and urges the State Party to develop the Action Plans on Curbing Illegal Logging and Trade of Siamese Rosewood including concrete measures, and timeframe for their implementation;
  4. Encourages the State Party to strengthen international cooperation with other States Parties concerned, particularly Cambodia, China, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Viet Nam, to halt illegal trade in Siamese Rosewood (Dalbergia cochinchinensis);
  5. Notes with concern that the property continues to be under pressure from encroachment, including resort developments; appreciates that a number of the cases have resulted in successful prosecution against land encroachment, and encourages the State Party to continue working with local authorities, communities, NGOs, in improvement of coordination and collaboration for protection of the Property and its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV);
  6. Reiterates its request to the State Party to implement and enforce speed limits and impact mitigation actions along Highway 304 and other roads crossing the property, and urges the State Party to not permit the re-opening or expansion of any other roads crossing the property;
  7. Notes with appreciation the actions already undertaken to mitigate the impacts of the Huay Samong Dam on the property during the construction phase and also reiterates its request to the State Party to continue efforts to implement and enforce mitigation measures during and post construction, in cooperation between relevant authorities, specifically the Royal Irrigation Department and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, in order to ensure that the dam does not negatively impact the OUV of the property;
  8. Also notes the reported consideration by the State Party to build another dam in the Klang Dong area of the property, which, if approved, would be likely to inundate a significant portion of the property, and also urges the State Party to make a commitment not to allow any additional dam constructions that are likely to have an impact on the property;
  9. Requests the State Party to implement all the other recommendations from the 2014 IUCN reactive monitoring mission, in particular:
    1. Enhance and strengthen inter-agency and international cooperation, including with the military and local police, to address the issue of illegal Siamese Rosewood logging, transportation, and sale, including through budgetary provisions to facilitate increased regular joint patrolling activities, and through encouraging interactions at higher levels and consideration of new approaches, including ways to reduce demand,
    2. Urgently address the severe threats from the various types of encroachment to the property which affect its OUV, by implementing measures specified in the reactive monitoring mission report;
    3. Urgently submit to the World Heritage Centre:
      1. detailed plans for long-term enforcement actions to prevent encroachment after expansion of Highway 304,
      2. any plans to expand or reopen other roads bisecting the property, and confirmation of the status of discussions on expanding Highway 348 and reopening of Route 3462,
    4. Building on the positive results already achieved in reducing illegal grazing activities, continue to engage with local communities to fully remove the remaining domestic cattle from the property, and increase cooperation with local provincial authorities, including the Department of Agriculture, to support small scale cattle herders in finding and securing land outside the property,
    5. Take urgent measures, as specified in the reactive monitoring mission report, to improve the property’s management effectiveness;
  10. Also requests the State Party to submit an electronic and three printed copies of the draft revised management plan to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN;
  11. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above as well as on the requested action plan and its implementation, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015 in order to assess progress in the implementation of the recommendations, with a view to considering, in the case of confirmation of the ascertained or potential danger to its Outstanding Universal Value, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

 

Draft Decision:  38 COM 7B.71

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-14/38.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 37 COM 7B.15, adopted at its 37th session (Phnom Penh, 2013),
  3. Notes with utmost concern that the threat of illegal logging and trade of Siamese Rosewood (Dalbergia cochinchinensis) by armed groups continues to escalate, despite commendable efforts by the State Party and park rangers to address this issue, often at great personal risk, and also notes with significant concern that the property continues to be under heavy pressure from encroachment, including resort developments;
  4. Considers that both of the above threats represent a clear ascertained danger to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, in conformity with Paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines;
  5. Decides to inscribe Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex (Thailand) on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  6. Reiterates its request to the State Party to implement and enforce speed limits and impact mitigation actions along Highway 304 and other roads crossing the property, and urges the State Party to not permit the re-opening or expansion of any other roads crossing the property;
  7. Notes with appreciation the actions already undertaken to mitigate the impacts of the Huay Samong Dam on the property during the construction phase and also reiterates its request to the State Party to continue efforts to implement and enforce mitigation measures during and post construction, in cooperation between relevant authorities, specifically the Royal Irrigation Department and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, in order to ensure that the dam does not negatively impact the OUV of the property;
  8. Also notes the reported consideration by the State Party to build another dam in the Klang Dong area of the property, which, if approved, would be likely to inundate a significant portion of the property, and also urges the State Party to make a commitment not to allow any additional dam constructions that are likely to have an impact on the property;
  9. Requests the State Party to implement all the other recommendations from the 2014 IUCN reactive monitoring mission, in particular:

a)  Enhance and strengthen inter-agency and international cooperation, including with the military and local police, to address the issue of illegal rosewood logging, transportation, and sale, including through budgetary provisions to facilitate increased regular joint patrolling activities, and through encouraging interactions at higher levels and consideration of new approaches, including ways to reduce demand,

b)  Urgently address the severe threats from the various types of encroachment to the property and its OUV, by implementing measures specified in the reactive monitoring mission report;

c)  Urgently submit to the World Heritage Centre:

(i)  detailed plans for long-term enforcement actions to prevent encroachment after expansion of Highway 304,

(ii)  any plans to expand or reopen other roads bisecting the property, and confirmation of the status of discussions on expanding Highway 348 and reopening of Route 3462,

d)  Building on the positive results already achieved in reducing illegal grazing activities, continue to engage with local communities to fully remove the remaining domestic cattle from the property, and increase cooperation with local provincial authorities, including the Department of Agriculture, to support small scale cattle herders in finding and securing land outside the property,

e)  Take urgent measures, as specified in the reactive monitoring mission report, to improve the property’s management effectiveness;

10.  Also requests the State Party to submit an electronic and three printed copies of the draft revised management plan to the World Heritage Centre for review by IUCN;

11.  Further requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, to develop corrective measures, a timeframe for their implementation and a proposal for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger;

12.  Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2015, an updated report, including a 1-page executive summary, on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015.

Report year: 2014
Thailand
Date of Inscription: 2005
Category: Natural
Criteria: (x)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2014) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 38COM (2014)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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