Official: new law will ban commercial picking of mushrooms in national parks

A spokesperson for the National Parks Office has confirmed that laws passed last week that come into affect later this year will ban the commercial picking of mushrooms in national parks.

The changes, detailed under the new National Parks Act 2562 included increased penalties for those lighting fires in national parks and other protected forests as well as the prohibition on picking natural resources that can “be reborn” complete with a 2,000 to 5,000 baht fine.

Exactly what this means was spelled out by Mr. Songtam Suksawang, who heads the National Parks Office speaking to The Nation.

Under the restriction, permission must be obtained to harvest mushrooms and other natural resources in national parks with approval only given to “forest dwellers” who can prove that they have lived in the area their entire lives.

“We will allow locals to continue their traditional way of life, provided it does not damage the environment. They can collect seasonal products from forests,” Songtam is quoted as saying.

“Such projects will require prior approval from the minister of natural resources and environment and the Cabinet before implementation,” he explained.

Defining further who is eligible to obtain permission, Songtam said that only locals will be allowed to collect mushrooms and bamboo shoots from forests and that people driving into the forest on pickup trucks will not be eligible.

“We will allow forest resources to be used for living, not for commercial purposes,” he added.

The new law comes into affect 180 days after the date the Royal promulgation May 29, which by our calculation means that commercial mushroom harvesting in national parks will be banned from Nov. 25.