Mangrove Conservation, Thai Canals and Coconut Monkeys
Until recently, much of Surat Thani’s coastal mangrove forests had been severely reduced. The trees were cut to make charcoal and unsustainable fishing methods polluted the coastal waters. Today, things are changing for the better. Members of the local community have successfully undertaken conservation activities to preserve – and in some areas – even expand the forest. Instead of cutting trees, locals harvest useful products such as the leaves and fruit of the water-loving nipa palm trees. They also implemented strict controls over hunting and the amount and type of fishing methods and introduced waste management.
Accessible only by boat, this area is called Klong Noi, the “Land of a Hundred Canals.” The local economy is now fortified with the addition of sustainable jobs in community-based tourism (CBT) such as hosting village homestays and guided tours by long tail boat. Travelers can float along the many canals and see first hand how the local villagers have managed to find a balance between development and maintaining traditional customs. One of the cottage industries is a monkey-training center where gregarious primates are trained for several weeks to learn how to safely harvest coconuts. The monkey graduates can then harvest up to 100 coconuts per day! Another small industry is a boatyard that makes long tails for the canals as well as larger seafaring ships.
Khiri Travel Thailand can organize a tour for travelers where all places visited are authentic, not developed for tourists and there are no souvenirs for sale. For more information about visiting Klong Noi, please contact to [email protected]