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New Forests invests in Thailand peat swamp forest revival
KKL restoration capable of generating over 500,000 carbon credits per year
Tom King 22 Feb 2024

New Forests, a Sydney-headquartered real assets investment manager, is investing in conserving and restoring the Kuan Kreng Landscape (KKL) in Thailand, which holds the country’s second largest peat swamp forest area.  The investment is the first for its Tropical Asia Forest Fund 2 (TAFF2).

The KKL has an area of 70,715 hectares and spans three provinces in southern Thailand, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Phatthalung, and Songkhla. More than 60,000 local people depend on fishing and other non-timber forest products from the peat swamp forests for sustenance and livelihoods.

Investors in TAFF2 include Mitsui, Nomura, Asian Development Bank, the Australian government, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, Temasek and TotalEnergies. 

Singapore-based Geoffrey Seeto, managing director of New Forests Asia, says: “KKL is one of Thailand’s largest peatland forest areas with rich flora and fauna and is home to species who are important on a global scale. Implementing impact activities related to climate change, support for communities and rural livelihoods, and protection and enhancement of biodiversity are in alignment with TAFF2’s impact objectives and our investors’ desire to invest in activities that have a positive impact on the environment and communities.”

Approximately 40% of the KKL landscape is suitable for a carbon project and, according to projections, has the potential to generate on average over 500,000 carbon credits per year.

Two-thirds of the KKL peat swamp forest is degraded due to drainage canal networks associated with agricultural land use, which lowers water tables and causes greenhouse gas emissions from peat oxidation. Fires can also contribute to transboundary haze that reduces air quality in local communities and urban areas such as Bangkok.

New Forests has established a local entity, Restore Nature (Thailand), which works closely with the Thai government and local community groups to design and implement a project that aims to raise the groundwater table in select areas through the construction of semi-permanent canal blocks to restore degraded peatland.

In addition, the project will undertake revegetation and enrichment planting to create biodiversity corridors to support the distribution of fauna and flora. An integrated fire management programme will also be developed as a key component of the project.

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