In many tropical countries mangrove forests are a crucial component of coastal resources. Nowhere is this more evident than in Thailand where their continued destruction due to shrimp farm expansion is impacting upon forestry, fisheries and the quality of the coastal environment. In addition to the environmental damage caused, mangrove loss is also a serious social problem. many people live and work among the mangrove forests and the destruction of the resources and ecological functions these forests provide affect the economic livelihoods and cultural heritage of many communities. Against these losses must be weighed the considerable commercial and foreign exchange benefits of shrimp aquaculture and production, which is a major export industry in Thailand. Through in-depth case studies of local communities in four distinct coastal areas in Southern Thailand, the authors are able to assess the underlying economic causes, and consequences, of mangrove deforestation due to the expansion of shrimp farms.