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Koh Mak Island

Rubber plantations

 The idea to bring rubber trees to Thailand was first considered when the Commissioner of Month on Phuket visited Malaysia in the late 19th Century and saw the Malays planting rubber trees with good productivity. He wanted to take rubber trees back to Thailand, but at that time the owners of the rubber plantations did not want to give him the seeds. In 1901 his adopted son visited Indonesia and was able to bring back rubber seedlings on his personal steam boat. There were 4 wooden boxes of rubber seedlings which were then planted. The planting area was expanded to about 45 plantations. After that, a group was sent to study methods of rubber growing abroad. They were then directed to teach and spread what they had learned about growing rubber. The booming era of rubber growing called "Tesa Rubber" began and rubber trees were planted in the South and the East until there were about 9 million trees owned by 5 hundred thousand families. Rubber is now the most economically significant plant of Thailand after rice. It creates an income for the country of billions of baht per year.

On Koh Mak, the first rubber plantation was introduced in 1915. Natural rubber is produced from the para rubber tree which initially grew only in the Amazon rain forest. Indian people there also called it "Caoutchouc" which means a weeping tree. This is because when cutting a thin strip of bark from the tree, the latex sap exudes for many hours.