LAND SPECULATION, RURAL LAND MARKETS
OPERATIONS AND THE EFFECTS ON FOREST LANDS
IN THAILAND

Preliminary draft of a paper prepared for use as a background material for the seminar on Land Markets, Speculation and Land Policy in Thailand, held at the World Bank, Washington, D.C., April 13, 1995.

By Tongroj Onchan *


Conclusion

Long-term raped economic growth has resulted in unprecedented increase in the demand for land. During the recent economic-boom period, in addition to "real" demand, speculative demand for land had been greatly increased. The rural land markets have become increasingly active, particularly where potential use for non-farm activities is good. Policy makers fear that farmer will sell their lands and then use the money unproductively and finally will further encroach upon natural forest lands. Preliminary findings from the study reveal that although land selling in rural areas have increased, they occur mainly in certain areas. Land speculation is not found to be common as generally believed. Villagers who sold lands used their money largely for productive purposes. Much of the agricultural land that was sold is still used for agriculture. Although its effects on the rural economy could have been quite significant, land speculation has not posed a serious problem to the depletion of natural forests areas. However, if allowed to continue without proper public measures, land prices may be further increased and forest land clearing for farm and non-farm purposes may also be increased. This finally might result in depletion of forest areas.


* Professor, Faculty of Economics Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand