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Mr. Sombhan Panateuk, Director, Sriracha Regional Forest Office, Royal Forest Department

Professor Sanga Sabhasri, Professor Walther Mans hard, and distinguished guests, on behalf of the Eastern Regional Forest Office here in Sriracha, I would like to welcome all of you from overseas and from Thailand.

I am very pleased that the United Nations University and the National Research Council of Thailand have arranged this Workshop on the Socioeconomic Situation of Human Settlements in Mangrove Forests, at Pattaya in our region.

We have about 40,000 hectares of mangrove forest growing in estuaries in this region. The mangrove forest has been used for many years, mostly for charcoal production. We now face problems with people who live in and near the mangrove area. They still cut the mangrove for firewood and charcoal production on a sustained-yield basis, but now some of them have cleared the forest for aquaculture, especially for shrimp farms. This raises questions about the possibility of sustained use of the mangrove forest resources.

I have learned from Dr. Sanit Aksorokoae that excellent mangrove ecologists, both from overseas and from Thailand, have come to this workshop. The knowledge obtained from this workshop will be very useful to us, and also to our friends from neighbouring countries, for mangrove resource management and development. I hope that the workshop will be very fruitful and that all of you will enjoy your stay.

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