The Forest Industry Organization (FIO) is a State Enterprise of the government of Thailand under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. FIO was established during Thailand's big push to modernize after World War II. When formed by royal decree in 1947, FIO's only work was to conduct logging in government-granted logging concessions in natural forests. FIO bought large numbers of elephants to work dragging logs.
Logging was quite profitable, and a very farsighted Managing Director, Dr. Amnuay Corvanich, wisely used some profits to establish commercial tree plantations all over Thailand, even while knowing it would be decades before the seedlings matured sufficiently to harvest and make money. These plantations were a lifesaver for FIO in 1989 when, after an ecological disaster in southern Thailand, the Thai government officially banned all logging in protected forest areas.
With the logging ban, FIO realized that the only viable work for its logging elephants was in tourism, and it therefore established the Thai Elephant Conservation Center.
Today, FIO has 3,200 employees and 244 forest plantations covering 160,000 hectares (395,368 acres) all over Thailand. Most of the plantations in the north are for teak, but there is also Scotch pine. The plantations in the northeast are primarily eucalyptus, while those in the south are rubber trees for parawood.
FIO has been an important innovator. Socially, it started many 'forest villages' employing local people in community-based forestry. Commercially, to increase profits beyond selling raw wood, FIO has devised value added products such as furniture, log houses, etc. Legally, FIO has achieved certification from the Forest Stewardship Council, making wood and products from most of its plantations legally exportable all over the world. Further, FIO is researching ways to use its plantations to gain carbon credits for Thailand.
In ecotourism, FIO has also developed several of its more beautiful forest plantations, particularly Wat Mae Chan, into Plantation Resorts. Featuring simple but comfortable accommodations amidst nature, these affordable resorts are perfect for walking, bird watching, and active outdoor sports - or even just a weekend of peace and quiet.
FIO has a website, though in Thai language only. http://www.fio.co.th