Political transition and emergent forest-conservation issues in Myanmar

Graham W. Prescott, William J. Sutherland, Daniel Aguirre, Matthew Baird, Vicky Bowman, Jake Brunner, Grant M. Connette, Martin Cosier, David Dapice, Jose Don T. De Alban, Alex Diment, Julia Fogerite, Jefferson Fox, Win Hlaing, Saw Htun, Jack Hurd, Katherine LaJeunesse Connette, Felicia Lasmana, Cheng Ling Lim, Antony LynamAye Chan Maung, Benjamin McCarron, John F. McCarthy, William J. McShea, Frank Momberg, Myat Su Mon, Than Myint, Robert Oberndorf, Thaung Naing Oo, Jacob Phelps, Madhu Rao, Dietrich Schmidt-Vogt, Hugh Speechly, Oliver Springate-Baginski, Robert Steinmetz, Kirk Talbott, Maung Maung Than, Tint Lwin Thaung (RECOFTC), Salai Cung Lian Thawng, Kyaw Min Thein, Shwe Thein, Robert Tizard, Tony Whitten, Guy Williams, Trevor Wilson, Kevin Woods, Alan D. Ziegler, Michal Zrust, Edward L. Webb

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Abstract

Political and economic transitions have had substantial impacts on forest conservation. Where transitions are underway or anticipated, historical precedent and methods for systematically assessing future trends should be used to anticipate likely threats to forest conservation and design appropriate and prescient policy measures to counteract them. Myanmar is transitioning from an authoritarian, centralized state with a highly regulated economy to a more decentralized and economically liberal democracy and is working to end a long-running civil war. With these transitions in mind, we used a horizon-scanning approach to assess the 40 emerging issues most affecting Myanmar's forests, including internal conflict, land-tenure insecurity, large-scale agricultural development, demise of state timber enterprises, shortfalls in government revenue and capacity, and opening of new deforestation frontiers with new roads, mines, and hydroelectric dams. Averting these threats will require, for example, overhauling governance models, building capacity, improving infrastructure- and energy-project planning, and reforming land-tenure and environmental-protection laws. Although challenges to conservation in Myanmar are daunting, the political transition offers an opportunity for conservationists and researchers to help shape a future that enhances Myanmar's social, economic, and environmental potential while learning and applying lessons from other countries. Our approach and results are relevant to other countries undergoing similar transitions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1257–1270
JournalConservation Biology
Volume31
Issue number6
Early online date14 Oct 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

Keywords

  • agriculture
  • civil war
  • forestry
  • governance
  • horizon scan
  • infrastructure
  • land tenure
  • priority setting
  • agricultura
  • escaneo del horizonte
  • establecimiento de prioridades
  • gobernanza
  • guerra civil
  • infraestructura
  • silvicultura
  • tenencia

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