Land Justice and Forest Landscape Restoration policy in Thailand

Schmidt, J. D. (Lecturer), Pornsakol Na Srito (Lecturer)

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations


Land Justice and Forest Landscape Restoration policy in Thailand Abstract By Johannes Dragsbaek Schmidt & Pornsakol Na Srito Inequality in income, resources and in land holdings has historically been one of the main causes of social conflict and polarization in Thai society. In 2012, the top ten percent owned 61.5% of fully titled landholdings and the lowest ten percent 0.07%. Today, these levels of inequality have risen tremendously and although the current military junta has promised to implement social sustainable reforms but 40% of farming households are still struggling below the poverty line. There is serious need for a fair and equitable land reform providing community deeds and titles to the landless as a way to restore social and land justice. After the 2014 military Coup in Thailand, the Thai junta stipulated that the Forest Landscape Restoration policy and promotion of the Land Bank would become a linchpin of the new military government’s agenda. However, the actual top-down securitized policy has severely increased inequality and landlessness. Although there have been many activities and resistance activities from land movements and civil rights groups during 2014-2018 the undemocratic approach of the junta has only exacerbated the problem. It has also persecuted farmers, conducted judicial harassments, and enforced disappearance of peasant activists. This paper has two objectives. Theoretically, it adds to the growing international research focusing on asymmetrical power relations at central and local levels. The empirical analysis attempts to fill a gap in the literature by focusing on the landless movements in Isan in the Northeast of Thailand. Interviews on the ground show that many farmers and grassroots activists are unable to obtain access to land ownership, resources and control over their lives. This situation challenges the MDG 16 targets for social justice through, among other policies, the forest law enforcement. This policy confirms the apparent facets of failed land justice and affects social justice and the search for justice. Keywords, - Social justice, - Failed land justice, -Forest landscape restoration, Landless situation, -Enforced disappearance, - civil right, - Sustainable development goals16, Participatory decision-making.
Period6 Nov 2018
Held atNordic Institute for Asian Studies - NIAS
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • land reform
  • forest policy
  • forest management
  • peasantry
  • Resistance
  • military
  • dictatorship
  • thailand