Published: Sunday 31 October 1999

-- A research team looking into the economic value of resources in the Mae Yom National Park in Phrae concluded that the Kaeng Sua Ten dam, that was planned for the area, is not worth building.

Khunying Suthawan, who led the research, said the estimate took into consideration the "use" and "non-use" values of the forest. In its calculations, she said, the team focused on three major resource areas, including biological diversity, carbon dioxide absorption and eco-tourism, while non-use value is based primarily on a public desire for the protection of forest cover.

Construction of the dam would generate huge emissions of carbon dioxide when the forest will be cleared. "There is increasing environmental concern in the world community and these issues could result in trade barriers. "Supporters of the dam cite flood-prevention, she said, but small-scale irrigation projects can address the problem without causing an enormous environmental impact. The research results will be send to the office of environmental policy and planning and a committee studying the likely impact of the dam. Khunying Suthawan said she had no idea if the government would heed the findings. "There is no formal channel for presenting such research to the government," she said. "Environmental impact assessments are merely limited to damage resulting from a project while feasibility studies never include environmental costs."

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