Thailand is a country of forests, shrub-studded grasslands, marshes and wetlands dotted with lotuses and water lilies. Since the mid-20th century, the total area covered by forests has declined from more than half to less than one-third. Forest Clearing for agriculture (including plantations), excessive logging, and poor management are the main causes of this decline. The forests consist mainly of hardwoods such as teak and timber and resin production of trees in the family. As elsewhere in Southeast Asia, bamboo, palms, rattan, and many species of ferns are common. Where forests have been logged and replanted not, of medium height grass and rose bushes, which often restricts the use of land for agriculture. Lotuses and water lilies dot most ponds and marshes throughout the country. Thais have traditionally used water buffalo, oxen, horses and elephants for plowing and harrowing the fields, transporting goods and people, and move heavy objects.
In the 1980s, however, the draft animals were replaced by machines, and, except in remote areas, the animals used for transportation were replaced by motorcycles, trucks, cars and buses. The demand for work elephants are almost completely disappeared after the ban on logging in 1989, and domestic elephants were involved in the tourism industry. Rapid deforestation in Combined with the marked increase in demand for exotic animals were disastrous for wildlife. Rhinos and tapirs, as in many parts of the country, but it all vanished, like herds of wild elephants. A similar fate befell the gibbons and some species of monkeys and birds. Although serious efforts have been made to prevent the illegal sale of endangered species, they have met with only limited success. Like other legislation on protection, which has a long history in Thailand, the laws were difficult to implement and achieve.