Challenges and Solutions

challenges - erosion

The culture and economy of the North Andaman Coast depend on a healthy environment. Growing threats such as shrimp farming, declining fish populations, tourism, and land encroachment have serious consequences for local communities.

Promisingly, a number of conservation efforts are underway including youth education, mangrove restoration, waste management and protection of an endemic water lily. Visit the community pages to learn more about how can see first-hand what's going on in Ban Naa, Muang Kluang, Nakha, Ban Talae Nok, Mae Nang Khao, Ban Lion, Koh Ra, Tung Nang Dam, and Tung Dap.

Several highly dedicated conservation groups also work in the North Andaman area, including the Mangrove Action Project, Naucrates, and ReefCheck Thailand.

Based on their "reef to ridge" approach to conservation, IUCN has produced a series of informative fact sheets on the Kuraburi and Kapoe watersheds, local youth education, and the Nakha Water Lily.

For more details, please visit the conservation and community development page.

Changing Land Use Patterns - Encroachment, and Erosion

challenges - encroachment

Land encroachment is a major issue in the area, as it is all over Thailand. Land laws, property titles and ownership rights aren't always clear or adhered to. It is not uncommon to see government land or protected areas cleared for rubber or palm plantations. People may encroach and remove areas of forest in the hope of gaining ownership.

Deforestation leads to erosion and increased sediment in the surrounding rivers and streams. Ultimately, this damages mangrove and coastal ecosystems downstream. Pesticides and fertilizers used on plantations disrupt the delicate chemical balance of the watershed and threaten to harm coral reefs and sea-grass beds out to sea.

challenges - erosion

Habitat loss due to commercial exploitation also leads to removal of native species and reduction of biodiversity. This puts pressure on vulnerable species including gibbons, lesser mouse deer, slow loris, pangolin, dugongs and turtles. Rare or valuable species may be illegally hunted, poached or harvested for consumption or financial gain. The Nakha water lily, for example, is on the brink of extinction.

 

Problem - Declining Fish Populations

challenge - over fishing

Commercial fishing boats are a common sight along the North Andaman coast. Seafood is in high demand from restaurants all over Thailand, especially the densely populated tourist areas of Phuket and Khao Lak.

Evidence suggests a decline in fish populations due to over-fishing, increasing competition between the commercial fishing fleets and local long-tail fishing boats. Nets and boats may trap or kill endangered species including sea turtles and dugongs. Sea-grass beds can also be damaged by motorized boats.

Shrimp Farming and Mangrove Forests

One of the major threats to mangroves is shrimp farming. Whole areas are uprooted to create large aerated pools used to breed and grow shrimp. Large amounts of chemicals are used to maintain the farm and a lot of waste material is generated. This waste material then enters the surrounding watershed and eventually the mangrove forest and coastal ecosystem.

Often, attempts to regenerate the mangrove forests replant only Rhyzophora species, resulting in a dramatic reduction in biodiversity. Many locals depend on the mangroves as a source of food and shelter. Mangrove wood is a popular material for building homes. Other people may trap crabs for consumption or sale, putting pressure on populations.

Tourism

The beauty and cultural diversity of the region makes it an attractive place for tourists to visit. However, tourism development often occurs in sensitive areas or encroaches on protected land. Increased numbers of visitors place additional pressure on water and waste management resources. Inappropriate anchorage and inappropriate snorkeling behavior on coral reefs can damage the delicate reef ecosystem.

Other problems may be caused when land owners develop on their land regardless of rules and regulations. This is often the case with hotel and resort development, which is why strict enforcement of zoning rules is required.