Apr 1, 2010

Hot season freshness in the forest

We have now begun the hot season in earnest, and I put on hold planting more trees : they'd just die. We have been lucky to have air breezes lately, but still, the heat is a bit overwhelming.

One of the reasons I plant trees in Bangkok, is that trees and plants do help a great deal to reduce temperatures. I experienced it last WE, while trekking the deep deep forest of the south (Khao Luang National Park), where temperatures where easily 5 to 10 degrees lower than in the village ! We were also blessed with rain, and while is not easy or comfortable to walk on steep slipery slopes when wet, I was quite happy to finally feel COLD !

If you are bored of the usual 2hrs boring touristic trek, and want to feel the real thing, sleep in the forest, try out some new paths, learn about trees and plants, it's time to go on a trip with P Gan

I cant resist posting a few pictures of real pristine rain forest, and some amazing trees, hoping we can have such beautiful trees one day in Bangkok streets...

The forest is so fresh under the trees canopy !

Rain forest at its best

Huge healthy trees. How different from Bangkok street trees !

Trees are a vital support for other plants : vines, orchids, ferns...

The large number of trees in the forest attracts rain and water. Streams and rivers dry quickly if all trees have been cut. Here, we can drink clean water from the streams wherever we go, even in the heart of the hot season.

Good to see trees rejuvenated with rain and air humidity

Of course, I could not go in the forest without picking up a few seeds for Bangkok !

Flying seeds (right = Dipterocarpus sp.)

I picked up about a kilogram of different seeds in these 3 days. The fresh and soft ones have been crushed in my bag. I'm not sure whether I can germinate them all, and some of them could be from vines. We will see :)

Of course, I did not take any tree from the national park. But I sure took a few saplings from the village when we got back :D

They joined the other trees in my improvised nursery, waiting for the raining season just as eagerly as I am...


  1. Now that answers one question I had in mind several times while reading your blog - where do get the seedlings for your tree planting. I know on the markets one can find almost everything, but non-ornamental forest trees should be rather rare to find even in a Thai market. The only market I could think of would be the rather big plant and garden market in Thonburi, not sure about its name however but went there once.

  2. Good question (as always ;) )

    To be exact, I was given the first saplings by the Forestry Department. They had a stand in the agricultural fair held in November in Udon-Thani, where they gave away saplings to anyone interested. They have several programs to promote different forestry techniques, and often give away saplings, including commercial orientated trees (ruber...).

    Now, this plantatreebangkok project is still in its infancy (trial and error experimentation), but once it starts to show some results (end of this year ?), I'll contact different organizations to get some support. I will contact the forestry department, and I also heard that several Royal Projects have been launched through the country to experiment growing 'new' kinds of trees. There is a wealth of information, and I'm confident to find usefull resource and may be some support, once I'll get into it.

    I have already contacted PATT-Thailand (Plant A Tree Foundation), who run interesting re-forestation programs :
    But they haven't answered me so far...

    I have upgraded my nursery since last post. I will post some pictures soon, and give more details about the way it runs.

    As you said, shops do not have forest trees in stock. It is better to avoid buying some if they do offer to sell you forest trees, for different reasons. I want to develop that further in a separate article, but the general principle is that they would sell you a tree that they take somewhere from the forest. The main reasons to avoid buying these trees are that :
    - a tree taken from the forest might probably not survive different growing conditions, such as a garden or a street, or will survive in poor health (and poor looks)
    - as a general rule in Thailand, people, including most nurseries staff, are not very careful about the way they transplant and transport trees. That also affects the tree health.
    - the bigger the tree you purchase and transplant, the harder it is for it to recover and grow nicely (that will also be a special article comming soon). That is particularly true of trees that have not been grown especially for transplantation.
    - last but not least : it damages the forest. Even though Thailand gives the impression to have lush and immense forest, the truth is that there is not so much real forest left. We should leave the trees there.


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