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The "Smooth" Life at Three Hundred Peak Water Plain
Story: Wiwat Pandawutiyanon
Photos: Photography Staff

    The longish Three Hundred Peak plain extends north-south along the left or west side of the Three Hundred Peak Mountain Range in Prachuab Khiri Khan Province. It has an area of around 69 square kilometers, half of which is national park land. Nine to ten months in a year, from June to March of the next year, the plain is submerged under water averaging a meter deep.

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    This water-saturated land fosters a distinctive ecosystem teeming with life that’s constantly flowing, waving, and slip and sliding in a smooth existence between solid and liquid surroundings. Sedges, rushes and other plants in the area are specially designed with plenty of air-holes. With water supporting them, they need not build up thick layers of cell to uphold themselves like land plants, and are thus ready to bend and bow with the elements without breaking or tearing. They are "coast guards," slowing floods, trapping sediment, and purifying coastal waters.
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    Water lilies and lotuses, with their roots in mud but eventually bursting forth in bloom above the waters and dirt, have become a symbol of Buddhism, but they are also sacred to another group of creatures for more practial reasons. The underside of their leaves provide refuge, shade and source of food for snails, hydras and several other small organisms.
    Over a hundred species of birds, both native and migratory, are found in the marshland. But fishes are most crucial in the lives of villagers who depend on fishing. Next in line are the birds and plants. Reports of large mammals like mountain goats and barking deer occasionally seen watering in the area excited ecologists. The freshwater meadow supported more kinds of life than expected.
    Unfortunately, on the surface of shallow static waters, red stains could be seen, the result of waste water released by pineapple and sugar cane factories nearby. These and encroachment on national park land by shrimp farms are looming threats to the flow of a "smooth" world.

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Wetlands: The "Smooth" Life at Three Hundred Peak Water Plain

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