Marshland designated in the northeast region of Thailand

Marshland designated in the northeast region of Thailand

13 December 2010

The government of Thailand has designated Kut Ting Marshland as its 11th Wetland of International Importance. Kut Ting Marshland (2,200 ha; 18°18’ N 103º41’ E) is located in Buengkan District, Nongkhai Province. As summarised by Marian Gwilliam, Assistant Advisor for Asia-Oceania, this Ramsar Site features many inland wetland types and habitats with a diverse array of species. Streams, lakes, marshes and flooded agricultural land are common in Kut Ting and as such, this site is a stunning example of an intact array of important wetland types in the Mekong Ecoregion.

The site provides a haven for 54 species of birds, including the endangered Baer's Pochard (Aythya baeri). The forests of Kut Ting support over 150 plant species while surrounding wetlands provide nursing and spawning grounds for approximately 113 species of fish. Nine of them are endemic to the site, such as Clupeichthys aesarnensis and Boraras micros, and 80 species are of commercial important. Kut Ting plays an important role in flood control while also supplying water to locals during the dry season. Sediment sourced from the Mekong River provides land for the cultivation of cash crops, such as watermelon, tomato and rice.

At least 22 species of waterplants are utilised by locals as vegetables, for fodder and handicrafts. Minor threats to the site include overfishing and pesticide/domestic waste runoff from surrounding areas. The Thai Department of Fisheries and the Provincial Natural Resource and Environment Office has jurisdiction over the site. There is also a Provincial Wetland Committee with responsibility for the management of the site and adjacent areas.

The designation of the Kut Ting Marshland as Ramsar Site was achieved with technical and financial support from WWF International Freshwater Programme and from WWF Thailand.