Her Royal Highness Princess Ubolratana (Right) H.E. Mrs. Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports…
Source of the Project “Coral Plant”
On August 19, 1997, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn personally traveled to Koh Talu, Bang Saphan Noi District, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province to explore and relax. A survey team from the Navy Department 1 assessed sea coral conditions of the Koh Talu area and found that the coral remains more complete and beautiful expecially when compared to other sources in the Gulf of Thailand. During her stay, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn assigned to Mr. Preeda Charoenpak, owner of a coconut plot on Koh Talu to report about the living conditions on this island. HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn considered ideas to develop Koh Talu and the surrounding areas in a sustainable way to benefit local people and continually maintain precious natural resources for local partners in Thailand.
Mr. Preeda Charoenpak had an inspiration to restore coral crisis losses. The global environmental changes have made it unsuitable for the growth of the coral reef, because of bleaching or other causes from human action both direct and indirect whether from deforestation, which exposes the top layer of the soil leading to sediment to piling on coral reefs, destructive fishing methods, and general neglect for the sake of tourism. They all lead to a loss of rich and beautiful coral reef resources and impact national fisheries professionals.
Mr. Preeda not only owns coconut plantations, he also developed the area of Mook Bay on Koh Talu known as “Koh Talu Resort,” which was designed to blend in with the natural environment on the island, where visitors have an opportunity to consciously experience the fertile natural environment. With the characteristics of a thinker, developer, and love for the living domicile, he has brought to life ideas on how to conserve natural resources for the community of Koh Talu, as well as giving opportunities for tourists to plant coral together.
Starting from reef development, Mr. Preeda brought ruined coral branches and tried planting on dead coral and found that the coral can still grow well. He also used scrap metal left from the construction area on Mook Bay Resort to connect to a base for setting up dead coral with PVC pipe to help the coral structure sit up vertically and rest at suitable depths. The coral has grown well, especially the coastal reefs in Mook Bay, with some branches growing up to 10 centimeters per year. For coral to recover, it must be placed in deeper waters. The water level was measured by a maximum depth of approximately 1-2 meters. Bottle brush coral, small antler coral, and large antler coral which has a good survival rate and complete branching, can be found here.
With genuine commitment, the coral Coral coast of Koh Talu has developed continuously. It attracts academics from educational institutes to come study and see the importance of the fertile areas of life under the sea as well as to give much more concrete support.
In 1997, Prof. Rattana Phosuwan from the faculty of environmental economics of Maejo University traveled with the people from National Research Council and universities to observe fishery centers at Koh Koh Talu and Klong Wan, along with initiating activity beneficial to Koh Talu. Every year, agricultural businesses and students in the Faculty of Economics and the Environment go on a field trip to study the activities of coral plants, including the ongoing Tridacna squamosa (Tridaenidae) project that in the natural reefs. Later, after the El Niño phenomenon, coral reefs were bleached and partially ruined. She tried to preserve the remaining reef by moving some living coral into deeper water and they could continue to grow accordingly.
In 1999 “Prof. Thorn Thamrongnavasawas” from the Department of Marine Science, Kasetsart University, received a budget to survey the coast in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province. He found that after the El Niño phenomenon, the coral coast of Koh Talu was not drastically affected and the sea animals in the deep water areas remained fertile. He then outlined action to restore coral.
After 2002, Prof. Prasan Sangpaiboon set up the Marine Science Activity and Conservation Foundation (MACF) supported by Vinythai PLC. He started the “Plant 10,000 Branches of Coral” program at the coastal area of Chong Samae San Village, Samae San Sub-district, Sattahip District, Chon Buri Province.
Some corals was planted at Koh Talu by using the PVC pipe. He returned to collect the data periodically and found it helped restore the reef to grow rapidly, which is very fertile. They planted the primary plot in front of Yai Bay of approximately 60 plots, 14 branches each, which cooperation in the “Plant 10,000 Branches of Coral” project between International Foundation for Science and conservation activities by Vinythai Company Limited (PCL) and Koh Talu where Mr. Preeda Charoenpak took a lead. The level of achievement is determined by increasing the number of coral respected and expanding the concept to the borders of the problem areas. This resulted in the recovery of the coral reef being more concrete. Prof. Prasan Sangpaiboon also acted as a guest speaker for various educational agencies who came for activities in Koh Talu until mid 2007, and cooperation has been expanded to all sectors of a larger project called “Vinythai cooperation to plant 80,000 branches of coral in honor of His Majesty the King” to bestow it as a Royal Charity and recall the great favor that His Majesty on the occasion of his 80th birthday celebration, with 10 agencies participating as follows:
Vinythai Company Limited (PCL)
Marine Science Activity and Conservation Foundation (MACF) supported by Vinythai PLC
Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment
Royal Thai Navy
Faculty of Science and Technology, Rambhai Barni Rajabhat University, Chanthaburi Province
Samae San Sub-district Administration Organization, Sattahip District, Chon Buri Province
Conservation Community Network Organization of Koh Samet, Rayong Province
Koh Talu by Koh Talu Island Resort, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province
Koh Kam under the care of Royal Thai Navy, Chon Buri Province
Koh Wai under ICEF Foundation in Trat Province
The goal of “To Plant 80,000 branches of coral for His Majesty the King” project in five areas will take years from 2008 – 2013.
Koh Samet Rayong 10,000 Branches
Koh Wai Trat 10,000 Branches
Koh Talu Prachuap Khiri Khan 10,000 Branches
Koh Kam Chon Buri 10,000 Branches
Area of Samae San Coast Chon Buri 40,000 Branches
The length of the project time within 5 year plan starting from 2008 – 2013
Step 1 – propagate the branches of coral to the primary plot, which takes 2 years
Step 2 – Recover the costal in Thailand which takes 2 years
Step 3 – Follow up and evaluation of performance for 1 year
The coral reef under the ocean is fertile and will become the valuable resource of the country
Become a local resource and generate income from the travel for the country.
Used for study, research to develop the recovery of coral reefs.
Encourage conscious participation of conservation of marine environments for the sustainable benefit.
Getting to know coral
Coral is invertebrate lifeform which grows under light conditions at the right temperature. Coral growth depends on the conditions of the Zooxanthellae seaweed’s photosynthesis that provide food and minerals for coral. Although coral is an animal, but it has similarities to plant growth – it can perform sexual reproduction for a short period during the year and asexual reproduction caused by the fracture of coral branches which then germinate in the vicinity.
The instructions to propagate the coral
Method 1 Using the PVC as the base for the coral. To propagate the coral, we apply the rule of cutting branches of the antler coral from the primary area, which we start from area sized of 0.6 x 1.2 meters with 14 corals per plot and also try to cut in order to study the length of the suitable coral that shows over the PVC pipes. The suitable lengths of the corals are 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 centimeters with and without the top of it. If it is longer than 3 centimeters, the chance of survival is greater than 90 percent.
Method 2 Using the Coral knoll coral reef or the dead-brain coral as the base for the living coral. We also bring branches from the primary area as well. We can find raw material from the nature, with the quantity and size are depending on the location. In some locations, the coral knolls have been relocated by waves or storms which we can use right away. We have to choose the suitable size, not too big, not too small and screw them in using the screwdriver which the size of the head is slightly larger than the coral branch itself. The number of branches depends on the size of the prepared coral knoll. After we nail the coral reefs, we place the lumbers at the base of the coral branches firmly to the coral knoll then decorate the lumbers and place next to the brain coral in the location under the wind. We can observe the nature of wind and water in the area where the direction of the strongest wind is each time of the year. Once we find the right location, we plant the coral reef in the area under the wind, with a big brain coral reef shielding from the wind. By the time we place the coral reef, we need to place it to the left and to the right in order to dig the Coral knoll firmly into the sand.
The material of planting the coral reef: Advantage and Disadvantage
This expansion of the antler coral project has been developed from prior study to save the coral reef since 1994-1995 where we used the 50 centimeter long Kor-oi steel to nail it to the PVC and then use the coral branches to nail it on the PVC. We found that the antler corals that we saved still standing with the survival rate is almost 100 percent. However, the disadvantage is that we have to spend a lot of time working underwater. Then in the year 1998- 2001, we developed an iron field connected to the PVC pipe line for planting the coral reef, which we found that it was convenient and led to high survival rate. But after the coral was strong enough to be recovered, we had to uninstall the PVC base out of the coral branches, costing a lot in budget, man power, and time.
Why do we need to use PVC?
This is because of the concept of antler coral propagation: we needed a systematic approach for a simple and easy method that could be done and used by children and villagers. Materials used must be durable and affordable. We found that PVC pipe has both features. It is also safe for nature; coral can stick to the joints of PVC pipe seamlessly. We also found those other living things, such as oyster, sponge, other coral species, and seaweed binding and coating to the pipes. Its material is good with the nature. The features of the PVC pipes are durable in the ocean. Therefore, it is appropriate for the PVC pipe to be used.
The recovery of Koh Talu marine resources has been consistent and the locals have built partnerships with agencies in both government and private sectors that work together to support and inspire consciousness to the environmental and natural resources among the people of Koh Talu. Today we are extending participation to the Bang Saphan Bay Area, Bang Saphan Noi District. The Center of Marine and Coastal Conservation 3 (Chumphon Province) under the Office of Marine and Coastal Conservation, Department of Marine and Coastal Resources, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment held a forum for debating and preparing to manage and utilize sustainable tourism in the Koh Talu area. With the participation of all sectors, this is critical because it will result in the successful treatment and recovery of marine and reef resources through the participation of people in the community who own together own these resources. The Koh Talu and the Gulf of Bang Saphan, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province can be a center of tourism and fishery resource since marine resources remain plentiful and offer economic development for local people while also bringing greater prosperity throughout the country. This motivation has passed from Mr. Preecha Charoenpak through to his heir, Paopipat Charoenpak, to follow his lead. The ideas built for community development based on sustainable concept encourage Koh Talu people to love and cherish the resources which are a national treasure belonging to everyone.
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