Thailand's Kaeng Krachan Joins UNESCO World Heritage List

Four natural sites added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List

Thailand’s Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex has recently been added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Thailand is already home to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites, namely Ayutthaya History City, Sukhothai Historic Town and associated towns, Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries, Ban Chiang Archaeological Site and Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex.

In addition to Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex, the other three natural sites are Amami-Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, northern part of Okinawa Island, and Iriomote Island (Japan); Getbol, Korean Tidal Flats (Republic of Korea), and Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands (Georgia). 

These additions were made during the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee held online and chaired from Fuzhou (China).

Amami-Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, northern part of Okinawa Island, and Iriomote Island (Japan), encompasses ing 42,698 hectares of subtropical rainforests on four islands on a chain located in the southwest of Japan. It is entirely uninhabited by humans, and has high biodiversity value with a very high percentage of endemic species, many of them globally threatened such as the Amami Rabbit (Pentalagus furnessi).

Getbol, Korean Tidal Flats, is situated in the eastern Yellow Sea on the southwestern and southern coast of the Republic of Korea. The site exhibits a complex combination of geological, oceanographic and climatologic conditions that have led to the development of coastal diverse sedimentary systems. The site hosts high levels of biodiversity, with reports of 2,150 species of flora and fauna, including 22 globally threatened or near-threatened species including Mud Octopuses (Octopus minor).

Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex is located along the Thailand side of the Tenasserim mountain range, a north-south granite and limestone mountain ridge running down the Malay Peninsula. The area is home to rich biodiversity. A number of endemic and globally endangered plant species have been reported in the property, and is noted for its rich diversity of birdlife, including eight globally threatened species. The property is home to the critically endangered Siamese Crocodile (Crocodylus siamensis). It is also home to eight cat species including the Clouded Leopard (Neofelis nebulosi).

Colchic Rainforests and Wetlands. The site comprises seven component parts within an 80km long corridor along the warm-temperate and extremely humid eastern coast of the Black Sea. They provide a series of the most typical Colchic ecosystems at altitudes ranging from sea level to more than 2,500 metres above it. The site also harbours 19 threatened animal species including the critically endangered Colchic Sturgeon.