Satun Geopark is Thailand's first UNESCO Global Geopark. Located in the South of Thailand, this geopark covers 4 districts of Satun Province, namely Thung Wa, Manang, La-Ngu, and Muang District. In addition to being the site of marine fossils of the Paleozoic Era dating back 545 to 245 million years ago, Satun Geopark is well known for its beautiful beach, limestone mountain ranges, caves and network of islands that attract local and international tourists. It is also home to the indigenous people with rich culture and local wisdom. Satun Geopark earned the status of UNESCO Global Geopark in 2018 in recognition for its significant importance in geology, ecology, and culture.
To preserve the natural and cultural heritage of Satun Geopark, NSTDA launched multiple projects to uncover biodiversity, local wisdom and cultural heritage in Satun Geopark and utilize the information to promote conservation, education and tourism.
Extensive studies have been conducted by research teams from Prince of Songkla University, Songkhla Rajabhat University and Satun Community College to discover organisms, including microbes, as well as cultural heritage in Le Stegodon cave, Urai Thong cave, Thalu cave, coastal areas and network of islands. The studies led to the discovery of several vulnerable and endangered species, including small seagrass (Halophila beccarii), great knot (Calidris tenuirostris) and brown-winged kingfisher (Pelargopsis amauroptera).
Organisms and cultural heritage uncovered from the studies are archived in Navanurak – a digital platform developed by NECTEC-NSTDA to support the collection and conservation of cultural heritage. Dr. Thepchai Supnithi, Director of NECTEC Artificial Intelligence Research Group, described Navanurak as a platform for management and dissemination of information on culture and biodiversity. The platform allows users to archive natural or cultural heritage by uploading descriptive information and multimedia such as photos, videos, and audio recordings of each item into the database. Some information and multimedia in Navanurak database are publicized to support education and tourism of Sun Geopark at https://www.navanurak.in.th/satungeopark.
This initiative represents an action under the Bio-Circular-Green Economy (BCG) that calls for an establishment of digital database of bioresources, cultural capital and local wisdom to support the conservation, restoration and utilization effort to strengthen the local economy and tourism industry.