Distribution and Status of Peatlands in Thailand
Peatlands are found mostly in the southern part of Thailand, particularly in Narathiwat, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Songkhla, Phatthalung, Trang and Surat Thani. A few of them are found in the east, in the province of Trat, and in the central, such as Lopburi. However, extensive surveys have not yet been made to determine the exact area of peatlands in Thailand. The definition of peatland has not yet been agreed upon and defined in the same standard, thus making the outcomes of the studies to differ in terms of figures and statistics.
As for the status of peatlands in Thailand, it is found that peatland is covered with primary forests with more than 470 species, some of which are as tall as 40 metres. This type of peatland, normally constituting the peat layer of 3.5 metres in thickness and 1-2 metres beneath the surface, is approximately 700-800 years old, and covering an area of 8,000 ha. Peatlands with thick forest have been subject to serious fires, which cause much damage and the loss of the original plant species. As a result, the original sepcies have been replaced with weeds and budding plant species.
Frequent forest fires have caused the peat to vanish or remain very little and the affected areas became open land, part of which have been encroached upon by settlers.