The beauty of Thailand’s 2,700-kilometre coastline is well known among travellers. Yet those who travel to Thailand may not be aware that most of the southern coast was once lined by vibrant mangrove forests.
Mangrove trees are full of value. Their leaves provide refuge for birds and protein for crabs. And their roots offer a natural home for young shrimp and fish, especially seabass, while storing massive amounts of carbon captured by the green canopies above. Mangroves also help protect coastlines from erosion and filter pollution released from factories.
Battered by the introduction and precipitous rise of commercial shrimp farming in the 1970s through 1990s, mangroves began disappearing from Thailand’s shores, as did the many benefits they provide. Fortunately, the tides have begun to change, and mangrove restoration projects have been undertaken by government, private sector and NGO stakeholders.
A Forest Takes Root
September 20 was the date of one such activity. Hutchison Ports Thailand, DP World and PSA terminals joined a Royal Thai Navy environmental team in planting mangroves at a site located 45 kilometres from Laemchabang Port in Aow Tung Prong, Sattahip.
Led by Artid Tatong, Chief Petty Officer Rank 3, the group of 210 people – including 87 from Hutchison Ports Thailand – planted over 200 mangrove trees on a Navy site that was once a shrimp farm. When fully grown, each mangrove can absorb between 17 and 25 kilogrammes of CO2, meaning these mangroves will one day store 4,200 tonnes of CO2 annually.
The volunteers also made sure to clean the site well, collecting over 100 kilogrammes of trash. Combined, these efforts will help the trees realise their powerful environmental benefits, Artid Tatong explained.
Among the participants, the activity gave a sense of accomplishment and purpose. Ms. Thiamnin Saksamurprom, a Hutchison Ports Thailand volunteer expressed her satisfaction with the event, stating, “I will share this experience with my family and friends so that they too can understand the importance of mangroves and contribute to future environmental conservation efforts.”