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29 December 2022

Heritage Matters: Land tax loophole endangers our environment

“An empty plot of land is not a wasteland. It’s an ecosystem of plants, insects, birds, mammals, trees, and other forms of life.”

The Siam Society Under Royal Patronage is delighted to share with you today the sixth article from “Heritage Matters”, a monthly series aimed at identifying the challenges and opportunities of cultural heritage conservation published by The Siam Society in the Bangkok Post.

In this article, Associate Professor Kitichate Sridith, professor of biological science at Prince of Songkhla university examined the detrimental impacts on the environment as a result of the enactment of the Land and Building Tax Act by the Thai government in 2020.

The Act specifically targeted those with unused and/or vacant plots of lands with a higher tax rate, creating pressure among landowners to convert their empty plots of land into crops and vegetation. Little were they aware that instead of creating productivity, their actions were casting an undesirable effect on our country’s biodiversity, destroying the habitats and ecosystem of plants and animals along the way.

We invite you to read the full article as Assoc Prof Kitichate examined other negative consequences resulting the passing of the Act, along with the impact on our country’s cultural heritage, and how we can learn from other countries in creating a sustainable solution on the conservation of our natural and cultural heritage.

*This past November, The Siam Society recently organised a panel discussion on the topic of “Land and Building Tax Act B.E. 2562 (2019): Is the empty or unused useless?”, where various academics and experts convened to exchange ideas and perspectives on the management of biologically diverse and historically significant areas that are at risk of being affected by the Act. For more information on the panel discussion, please click here.