Approximately 20% of the Myanmar’s Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) are found in the Tanintharyi Region which includes the largest areas of lowland wet evergreen forest remaining in the Indo-Myanmar Hotspot, some of the largest contiguous blocks of mangrove forest in mainland SE Asia, and some 800 islands and diverse marine ecosystems of the Myeik Archipelago. These ecosystems support outstanding biodiversity including flagship species such as tiger, Asian elephant, Asian tapir, Sunda pangolin and many others.
The Thanintharyi region is with the rapidly evolving immediate mix of threats of high rates of deforestation emanating from unsustainable oil palm plantation development, together with the processes of illegal logging, forest encroachment, pressures from mining and industrial development and unsustainable use of natural resources including fisheries. The region faces urgent imperatives to conserve biodiversity and safeguard the region’s ecological and socio-economic security. The current pattern of economic development benefits individual companies at the expense of forgone development opportunities that would accrue benefits to the state and local communities, and provide the basis for the prosperity of community based natural resource management, as natural capital and resilience to local communities and indigenous peoples.
The Ridge to Reef project establishes, for the first time, integrated land and seascape planning and management in Myanmar with effective engagement of local communities. The project is aimed at long-term sustainable development and ecological security of Tanintharyi’s marine, coastal and terrestrial biodiversity through integrated planning, management and protection involving wide range of stakeholders including the local communities and indigenous peoples. The overall project approach entails consultations and engagement of all villages in the project target areas in order to obtain support and agreement for proposed project activities. The project will aim to ensure that its activities do not restrict legal access of local people to natural resources. Customary land use / rights / tenure will be fully respected by the project, and in fact the project will help to map out such claims as part of its participatory land use planning approach.
About the Project
The Project objective is to secure the long-term protection of Key Biodiversity Areas in Tanintharyi through integrated planning and management at land and seascape scales, with interconnectivity from ridge to reef. This will be achieved by protecting KBAs through various conservation mechanisms, such as protected areas, community forest reserves and locally managed marine areas, and maintaining ecological functions in the surrounding land and seascapes using the High Conservation Value (HCV approach) to identify and safeguard the natural capital upon which local communities are to a greater or lesser extent dependent.