My neighbor tells me of a flood years ago on the Chaopraya plain where all the trees, which were mainly fruit trees died except for big American Rain Trees.
I asked her about Don Takien (Hopea odorata), the famous spirit tree which one lined all our rivers and used for making war canoes. “Oh they are all long gone” she said.
I might add that the same is true of the great Yang Na (Dipterocarpus alatus), which the King has successfully grown at Suan Chitlada in large numbers. Former Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun once told a Community Forest meeting how he wished to see Yang Na planted everywhere in his native Bangkok.
My neighbor suggested that the best way for us in the north to help flood sufferers is to start growing lots of trees for their gardens, especially fruit trees, and to start now.
I would add that as this has been a year of abundant seed production of Yang Na trees and that our forest nurseries have them in abundance, that come Songkran time they all be shipped to Nakorn Sawan and beyond to be planted to grace the roads and klongs and in years to come provide timber for building in the old style.
This should please a lot more people than just Khun Anand and His Majesty.
Can anyone suggest which organisations are best placed to organise this assistance? (without turning it into an exercise in corruption)
(Note: Yang Na trees are grown in their hundreds of thousands here in Chiang Mai and Lamphun due to the ease of collection of seed from the giant avenue of over 800 trees stretching from Chiang Mai to Sarapee. This year 27,000 seeds were collected from one giant tree at Wat Chedi Luang. Yang Na (Dipterocarpus alatus) is a useful plantation species but as it is not known to grow wild in the forest further north than the south of Phrae province it is not recommended for environmental planting Lanna. Rather at lower elevations, along streams and on the northern flood plains the indigenous Yang Daeng (Dipterocarpus turbinatus) should be preferred. )