Salty rivers, failed durian trees and waves consuming the shore: Climate change realities hit Gulf of Thailand

When devastating floods ruined Sumroeng Sunthonsaeng’s fruit orchards in 2011, he vowed to stay on the land.

He changed the direction of his business, focusing on lucrative and prized durians, long famous in the Nonthaburi area, a neighbouring province of Bangkok.

Last year, he was eyeing a bumper crop. But in the wake of a record drought, it never materialised. Instead of premium priced fruit, he was left with leaves that looked like they’d been burnt.

“In 2019, about 80 per cent of the durian trees had blooming flowers. We forecasted about 1,500 durians,” he said. “But issues of saltwater and severe dryness meant we had to cut the fruits out or let the trees shake the flowers and fruits off, resulting in us getting less than 200 durians.”

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Jack Board