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At the Supply Edge

Thailand's Forest Policies, Plantation Sector, and Commodity Export Links with China

By Keith Barney - York Universiry, Forest Trends, CIFOR, YCAR, DFID, EU Asia Pro Eco Programme
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This study on Thailand’s forestry sector was commissioned by CIFOR and Forest Trends as part of a wider effort to address an information gap regarding Asia’s forestry and plantation forestry industries as well as regarding the emerging trade linkages between East and Southeast Asia. This report on Thailand’s forest sector is one of three studies undertaken by the author, which links forest resource production trends in Southeast Asian countries to China’s rapidly expanding market for forest products, in particular woodchips and pulp and paper. The other two studies examine Cambodia’s and Vietnam’s forest sectors and their links with China.In addition to continued controversies over unsustainable harvesting, forest degradation and trade in Southeast Asia, a second related source of protracted tension in Asia’s forests involves conflicting, overlapping claims to lands and resources. Close attention to local resource tenure systems in different Southeast Asian political contexts and a fuller documentation of the nature and extent of current state-community and company-community conflicts in the region are crucial for resolving these disputes. Given the extent of overlapping claims to land and resources in the region, the emergence of a new and potentially enormous Chinese consumer and industrial demand for forest products will likely have direct implications for land, resource and livelihood security of many forest-dependent communities in Southeast Asia.