For nearly a century, Thai state forestry focused overwhelmingly on extracting timber and keeping local people away from the forests. In forest ecosystems that contain some three thousand species of trees, Thai state foresters have concentrated on just three--teak, pine, and eucalyptus. While in recent years foresters have shifted their focus to conservation, they continue to pursue policies that marginalize communities, leaving them with little option but to protest and resist.
Ann Danaiya Usher examines the historical ideas and styles of forestry that have long influenced the practice of Thai state forestry. She also traces the origins of the century-old conflict between foresters and forest communities and argues that unless some kind of resolution is found, the loss of forest is almost certain to continue until there is little left to protect.