Chapter VIII - Projects
Project 1: K.P.T
VIII-01: Feel the spirit of a virgin tropical rain forest.
VIII-02: Absolute necessity to preserve the world's Asian natural heritage.
VIII-03: An opportunity to position yourselves as true nature's problems solvers.
Project 2: Eco Villages without ideology.
VIII-04: the Villages of Wholesome Life.
part 1 - Feel the spirit
Feel the spirit of a virgin tropical rain forest.
version en français.
Defends nature to save humanity
The lure of north-eastern Phuket island, Thailand.
Located near the town of Thalang just 10 minutes from Phuket international airport and 45 minutes drive from the most popular beaches of Thailand (Patong and Karon), can be found the most wonderful piece of land which virtually remains unknown even to the millions of tourists who go by each year. Identified as the Khao Phra Thaew Wildlife and Forest Park this 5765 acres territory is scarcely visited.
Luxuriant and inviting, this piece of virgin tropical forest is entirely surrounded by roads, villages and plantations, yet retains its pristine and near-primitive identity as an "island" of unspoiled natural splendor in an exotic land. Recognized for its uniqueness and value as an enclave of untouched nature, the Thai people of the region have sustained a determined will to preserve and safeguard the area's naturalness as a valued and precious part of their heritage.
It would understandably be difficult to convey to most westerners the full imagery of the uniqueness, the inextricable "richness" and the varied splendor of a natural Thai rain forest.
It is simply marvellous, so diverse in the lifeforms it holds: hundreds of essences of wood and bamboos grow there, some of them having giant thorns, while others secrete a poisonous brown resine on their stalks to deter herbivorous animals from eating them.
One would find the largest flower in the world there, a rafflesia arnoldii, which is about three feet in diameter and exudes a most offensive putrefaction smell in order to attract insects for pollination.
Some examples of fruits that are indigenous to the territory are:
diterocorpus grandi florus.
Here also is an unusual plant, the pandanus unicornutus, which grows in a spiral shape.
The trees here are indeed gigantic. They can reach as high as 200 feet.
One of the most spectacular trees of this forest is the type Buddha sat under to meditate: it is the " ton saï " in thai or banyan in English.
This East indian fig tree, ficus benghalensis - from the branches of which grow descending roots which will form new trunks - can cover a relatively wide area over time. An old banyan can manage to cover many thousands of square feet of ground.
This hardy tree is virtually impossible to kill because of its capacity to be born again from itself and worm its way everywhere around it as we can see in Angkor wat. Should you plant one in your garden in your youth, you would no longer have a house or a garden in your old age, this tree having taken over the whole area in the meantime. You could possibly live in its branches since it would so vast.
The fauna here is also quite impressive, lots of it sheltered within a canopy of exotic vegetation and consisting of a staggering variety of flying (gliding) animals such as the flying squirrel seen above
as well as flying lizards, flying frogs and even flying snakes !
The gibbon monkeys with their startling howl, the macaques, and a wide variety of sumptuous and colorful birds such as the calao as well as the flying dragon seen in the above picture all live within this forest's canopy.
A nocturnal fauna lives on the ground and is generally difficult to observe. There are no tigers left there but other rare species remain to be found such as the collar bear, the leopard as well as a multiple variety of ocelots, civets cats and other wildcats.
One would also find pangolins, porcupines, wild boars and a peculiar species of very small deers that are no bigger than hares.
It would be wonderful to bring some wild elephants to this forest. This could be achieved quite easily since they are still found in the much less visited nothern part of Thailand.
Batrachians of all kinds pullulate there, some of which are very colorful frogs living in trees.
The innumerable reptiles are the uncontested Masters of this forest. Most of them are not poisonous like the python, which can weigh up to 300 kg, the monitors (very large breeds of flesh-eating lizards getting their name from the notion that they warn of the presence of crocodiles) and many other types of lizards.
There are, however, 3 species of poisonous snakes: the King Cobra that can measure up to 12 feet long, the Naga, and the Ancistredon. They are most often found on the edge of the forest or close to human dwellings, probably because they prefer to eat the fighting cocks that the Thais all love to raise.
One would find an incredible variety of insects there, some of which are completely mimetic: taking on the appearance of branches or leaves,
or brightly colored, they are all fascinating (ask any child )
and may also be dangerous: like the scorpion or the giant orange millipede that is at least as poisonous as the cobra.
A small river and a series of beautiful cascades add even more magic to the area. This being the only part of the park that is scarcely visited at the moment.
All of this is right there, on an island inhabited by five hundred thousand people and visited by three million tourists each year and the vast majority of them never learn about it. One must admit that the existing reception facilities are quite modest and that there is a need to let everyone know about this treasure which is hidden right under their nose.
Imagine yourself in a comfortable ecotourism lodge... ;-)
Read: "Khao Phra Thaew Wildlife park and forest reserve." Phuket, Andaman Press, 80 p. (français-anglais-thaï). 1986, Phuket de Jean Boulbet et Nophadol Briksavan. Forest's pictures of Mr Jean Boulbet are copyrighted.
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Updated September 1st, 2005