From a sustainable environment that returns nature’s bounty to the evergreen forest of Kui Buri, Siam Winery reiterates its resolve to protect nature, reforestation, increase wildlife’s food sources and ensure a symbiotic relationship between man and forest.
Siam Winery Group in cooperation with the private and public sectors are spearheading a campaign to integrate efforts of sustainable natural resources conservation in accordance with the late King Bhumibol’s sustainability initiative. These efforts span rehabilitation of the evergreen forest of Kui Buri, development of wildlife’s food sources, and the fostering of a secure and symbiotic relationship between man and forest. The cooperation is part of a conservation master plan, known as the Kui Buri model, that aims to solve chronic problems revolving around people, wild elephants and forest encroachment on a national and international level.
The Kui Buri National park is one of the most pristine forest reserves and richest areas of ecological and biological diversity in Thailand. The lush dense forest of Kui Buri is a far cry from what it was 20 years ago when the growing farmlands, especially ever-expanding pineapple plantations, encroached on the surrounding evergreen forest. The forest provided a rich habitat for wildlife like elephants and their food sources. The result was the rise of incidents involving wild elephants roaming pineapple plantations in search of food and farmers’ growing conflict with the animals. The conflict initially culminated in the death of two wild elephants that was attributed to poisoning while they were foraging around in a pineapple orchard. Not long after the first incident, a wild elephant was shot dead by farmers as it was spotted eating pineapple in their orchards. Violence against elephants was unrelenting at the time, raising a bleak outlook for farmers living in close symbiosis with them.
When the news reached His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), the monarch initiated the Kui Buri Forest Reserve Restoration Project under His Majesty’s Royal Initiative” on June 19, 1997. As a result, the Kui Buri National Forest Reserve Conservation and Restoration Project under His Majesty’s Royal Initiative has been in operation since 1998. The project consists of natural resources conservation and restoration activities like reforestation and construction of mixed and semi-permanent check-dams, artificial saltlicks, and firebreaks. There were also activities to promote vocational development for among community dwellers including promotion of vetiver grass farming and a crash course in composting and promotion of the use of compost.
The Siam Winery group, a producer and distributor of wine and other beverages in Thailand, is an organization that has been committed to social and environmental responsibility with an awareness of the problems of deforestation and eroding ecological balance since its inception. The company has always sought to do its part in helping out society through a range of volunteer works and projects with the belief that the most important mission of an organization is to look after the farmlands of Thailand. As a result of the company’s awareness of the arduous mission of protecting the forest reserve by the officials of the Kui Buri National Park as well as personnel taking part in the forest restoration project under the royal initiative, Siam Winery has become the first private organization to provide the utmost cooperation to these forest conservation professionals in support of efforts encompassing reforestation, development of water sources, expansion of adequate food sources for wildlife, wildlife security and community-centric promotion of quality of life. The company follows the lead of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol in attaining man’s symbiotic relationship with wild elephant as pointed out in his speech delivered on July 5, 1999, that read in part:
“Wild elephants should live in the forest, but one must make sure that the forest has adequate food for them. In practice, that means creation of a scattering of small food sources in the forest. In case of wild elephants making their way out of the forest, we must ensure their security.”
Mr. Chayapol Sornsilp, manager of Siam Winery’s social responsibility management, says, “Siam Winery Co., Ltd., has taken part in restoring wildlife’s food sources by taking charge of caring a 300-rai tract of grassland together with semi-permanent check-dams, artificial saltlicks and water reservoirs in the grass land. The goal is to provide a wide choice of food sources for wildlife and boost the morale of the park officials by donating necessary equipment to carry out their duties. The company has also provided for wildlife security by offering bounties to park officials who can turn in wildlife poachers. These efforts have resulted in a sharp increase in the number of wildlife and the successful restoration of the wildlife nurturing aspect of the national park’s ecological system. Villagers have also been given access to new sources of tourism revenue and over time helped to remove the scourge of violence against wildlife of the past. Besides, the company has also been actively involved in a number of wildlife conservation networks established by the public and private sectors in a bid to integrate all efforts relating to sustainable conservation of natural resources.”
Siam Winery Co., Ltd. has spearheaded the Kui Buri forest restoration project since 2009 in cooperation with state and private organizations as well as local communities. The company has established POWER of Kui Buri (POWER: Public Private Partnership Offering for Wildlife and Ecosystem Resilience) that culminated with the signing of a memorandum of understanding titled “The Tenasserim Agreement”. The agreement seeks to bring an end to wildlife poaching in accordance with the royal wish of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol in taking a sustainable and efficient approach to wildlife, forest and the environment management. The result is the recognition of wildlife and wild elephant conservation efforts – in the area of the Kui Buri National Forest Reserve Conservation and Restoration Project under His Majesty’s Royal Initiative and the Kui Buri National Park – as the “Kui Buri Model” for solving the conflict between man and wild elephants (in Kui Buri) on a national and international level. This conservation model has attracted a number of study trips joined by observers from many countries.
“Over the past 9 years, we have been involved in reforestation. Today the evergreen forest of Kui Buri – spread over 1,100 square kilometers – has been fully restored to provide a rich habitat for wildlife. Once wildlife in the forest was threatened with extinction. At present, the Kui Buri forest hosts more than 300 wild elephants, 250 gaurs and four kinds of Thailand’s rarely found wildlife species: tapirs, marbled cats, chamois and Tenasserim muntjacs. Endangered wildlife spotted there includes bantengs, tigers, leopards, and panthers, all seen walking, grazing and lapping freely and safely at a river’s edge in their natural way. The Kui Buri National Park offers visitors opportunities to daily observe such wildlife as elephants, gaurs, and bantengs. The national park also hosts the growing population of red gaurs, a hybrid of a gaur and a banteng, that are easy to spot. The red gaur has the body of a gaur with a white pattern in the shape of a Pipal leaf near its bottom like that of the banteng. The red gaur is one of rarely found species in this forest,” says Chayapol.
At present, the Kui Buri National park has been recognized as a model for forest conservation because of its rich biodiversity and growing wildlife populations. Communities now live in close symbiosis with the forest without hurting one another. This success has filled Siam Winery with pride as the first private organization that has consistently been involved in conservation and restoration of the evergreen forest. Siam Winery looks forward to actively contributing to social and environmental causes around Thailand, for the betterment of society and all who live here.