Biodiversity Conservation in a Changing Climate: A Review of Threats and Implications for Conservation Planning in Myanmar
- 1.6k Downloads
High levels of species richness and endemism make Myanmar a regional priority for conservation. However, decades of economic and political sanctions have resulted in low conservation investment to effectively tackle threats to biodiversity. Recent sweeping political reforms have placed Myanmar on the fast track to economic development—the expectation is increased economic investments focused on the exploitation of the country’s rich, and relatively intact, natural resources. Within a context of weak regulatory capacity and inadequate environmental safeguards, rapid economic development is likely to have far-reaching negative implications for already threatened biodiversity and natural-resource-dependent human communities. Climate change will further exacerbate prevailing threats given Myanmar’s high exposure and vulnerability. The aim of this review is to examine the implications of increased economic growth and a changing climate within the larger context of biodiversity conservation in Myanmar. We summarize conservation challenges, assess direct climatological impacts on biodiversity and conclude with recommendations for long-term adaptation approaches for biodiversity conservation.
KeywordsMyanmar Climate change Economic development Protected areas Biodiversity Threats
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s engagement in capacity building and conservation implementation in Myanmar since the 1980s has been made possible through cooperation with the Ministry of Forestry, Myanmar. We are grateful for long-standing support of our work in Myanmar by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Blue Moon Fund, Panthera, Arcus Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation. We acknowledge the WCS Myanmar Program GIS staff and LiLing Choo for assistance with the figures. We would like to further recognize the support of the Economic Development Board of Singapore and three anonymous reviewers whose comments greatly improved the manuscript.
- Allen, D.J., S. Molur, and B.A. Daniel. 2010. The status and distribution of freshwater biodiversity in the Eastern Himalaya. Cambridge and Gland: International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Coimbatore, India: Zoo Outreach Organisation.Google Scholar
- Andrade, A., R. Córdoba, R. Dave, P. Girot, B. Herrera-F, R. Munroe, J. Oglethorpe, E. Pramova, et al. 2011. Draft principles and guidelines for integrating ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation in project and policy design: A discussion document. CEM/IUCN, CATIE, Kenya.Google Scholar
- Baran, E., T. Jantunen, and K.C. Chanton. 2008. Values of inland fisheries in the Mekong river basin. In Tropical river fisheries valuation: Background papers to a global synthesis, ed. A.E. Neiland, and C. Béné, WorldFish Center Studies and Reviews, 1836, 227–290. Penang, Malaysia: WorldFish Center.Google Scholar
- Buckton, S.T., and R.J. Safford. 2004. The avifauna of the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. Bird Conservation International 14: 279–322.Google Scholar
- Clarke, P., and S. Jupiter. 2010. Principles and practice of ecosystem-based management: A guide for conservation practitioners in the Tropical Western Pacific. Suva, Fiji: Wildlife Conservation Society.Google Scholar
- Colwell, R.K., G. Brehm, C.L. Cardelus, A.C. Gilman, and J.T. Longino. 2008. Global warming, elevational range shifts and lowland biotic attrition in the wet tropics. Science 10: 258–261.Google Scholar
- Cross, M.S., E.S. Zavaleta, D. Bachelet, M.L. Brooks, C.A.F. Enquist, E. Fleishman, L. Graumlich, C.R. Groves, et al. 2012. Adaptation for Conservation Targets (ACT) Framework A tool for incorporating climate change into natural resource conservation and management. Environmental Management 50: 341–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Duffy, D.C. 2011. No room in the Ark? Climate change and biodiversity in the Pacific Islands of Oceania. Pacific Conservation Biology 17: 192–200.Google Scholar
- Feeley, K.J., and M.R. Silman. 2010. Biotic attrition from tropical forests correcting for truncated temperature niches. Global Change Biology 16: 1830–1836.Google Scholar
- Foden, W.B., G.M. Mace, J.-C. Vié, A. Angulo, S.H.M. Butchart, L. DeVantier, H.T. Dublin, A. Gutsche, et al. 2009. Species susceptibility to climate change impacts. In Wildlife in a changing world: An analysis of the 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, ed. J.C. Vié, C.H. Taylor, and S.N. Stuart. Gland, Switzerland: International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.Google Scholar
- Gong, L. 2012. Regional implications of reconciliation in Myanmar. NTS Alert March, Singapore: RSIS Centre for NonTraditional Security (NTS) Studies for NTS Asia.Google Scholar
- Grantham, H.S., E. McLeod, A. Brooks, S.D. Jupiter, J. Hardcastle, A.J. Richardson, E.S. Poloczanska, T. Hills, N. Mieszkowska, C.J. Klein, and J.E.M. Watson. 2011. Ecosystem-based adaptation in marine ecosystems of tropical Oceania in response to climate change. Pacific Conservation Biology 17: 241–258.Google Scholar
- Gutter, P. 2001. Environmental Law in Burma, Legal Issues on Burma Journal, Burma Lawyers Council, Issue Number 9.Google Scholar
- Harmeling, S., and D. Eckstein. 2013. Global Climate Risk Index 2013. Who suffers most from extreme weather events? Weather-related loss events in 2011 and 1992 to 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2013, from www.germanwatch.org/cri.
- Hoanh, C.T., K. Jirayoot, G. Lacombe, and V. Srinetr. 2010. Impacts of climate change and development in Mekong flow regime. First assessment 2009. MRC Technical Paper No. 29. Vientiane: Mekong River Commission.Google Scholar
- Hughes, L., R. Hobbs, A. Hopkins, J. McDonald, M. Stafford, W. Steffen, S. Williams, and F. Stadler. 2010. National climate change adaptation research plan for terrestrial biodiversity. Gold Coast, Australia: National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.Google Scholar
- Ingram, J.C., K.H. Redford, and J.E.M. Watson. 2012. Applying ecosystem services approaches for biodiversity conservation: benefits and challenges. S.A.P.I.E.N.S 5: 1–10.Google Scholar
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 2002. Technical Paper V. Climate change and biodiversity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 2007b. The physical science basis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 2007c. Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 2012. Summary for policymakers. In Managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation, A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, ed. C.B. Field, V. Barros, T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, et al., 1–19. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Johnston, R.M., C.T. Hoanh, G. Lacombe, A.N. Noble, V. Smakhtin, D. Suhardiman, S.P. Kam, and P.S. Choo. 2010b. Rethinking agriculture in the Greater Mekong Subregion: How to sustainably meet food needs, enhance ecosystem services and cope with climate change. Colombo: International Water Management Institute.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kam, S.P., M.C. Badjeck, M. Phillips, and R. Pomeroy. 2010. Aquaculture. In The World Bank. ed. S. Huq, A. Rahman, M. Konate, Y. Sokona, and H. Reid, Mainstreaming adaptation to climate change in Least Developed Countries (LDCs), 2003. London: International Institute for Environment and Development.Google Scholar
- Kingsford, R.T., and J.E.M. Watson. 2011. Impacts of and adaptations to climate change in Oceania: A synthesis. Pacific Conservation Biology 17: 270–284.Google Scholar
- Luo, T.X., Y.D. Pan, H. Ouyang, P.L. Shi, J. Luo, Z.L. Yu, and Q. Lu. 2004. Leaf area index and net primary productivity along subtropical to alpine gradients in the Tibetan Plateau. Global Ecology and Biogeography 13: 345–358.Google Scholar
- McCarthy, S. 2000. Ten years of chaos in Burma: Foreign investment and economic liberalization under the SLORC-SPDC, 1988 to 1998. Pacific Affairs 73: 233–262.Google Scholar
- McLeod, K.L., and H.M. Leslie. 2009. Why ecosystem-based management? In Ecosystem-based management for the oceans, ed. K.L. McLeod, and H.M. Leslie, 3–12. Washington, DC: Island Press.Google Scholar
- Murray, V., G. McBean, M. Bhatt, S. Borsch, T.S. Cheong, W.F. Erian, S. Llosa, F. Nadim, et al. 2012: Case studies. In Managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation, A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), ed. C.B. Field, V. Barros, T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, et al., 487–542. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Myanmar Initial National Communication (INC) Project Report to the UNFCCC. 2012Google Scholar
- National Commission for Environmental Affairs. 2009. Myanmar National Environmental Performance Assessment Report, ADB and UNEP, 323 pp. Retrieved May 23, 2013, from http://www.gms-eoc.org/resources/myanmar-epa-report.
- Nature News. 2008. Forest clearance boosted power of cyclone Nargis. Retrieved May 20, 2013, from http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080514/full/453270f.html.
- Orlov, V. 2012. Don’t miss a tiger waking up. Security Index: A Russian Journal on International Security 18(2): 1–4.Google Scholar
- Peduzzi, P., U. Deichmann, A. Maskrey, F.A. Nadim, H. Dao, B. Chatenoux, C. Herold, A. Debono, et al. 2009. Global disaster risk: Patterns, trends and drivers, 17–57. Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction. United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, Geneva, Switzerland.Google Scholar
- Platt, S.G., Kalyar, and Win Ko Ko. 2000. Exploitation and conservation status of tortoises and freshwater turtles in Myanmar. Chelonian Research Monographs 2: 95-100.Google Scholar
- Platt, S.G., Win Ko Ko, Kalyar, Khin Myo Myo, Lay Lay Khaing, and T.R. Rainwater. 2003b. Ecology and conservation status of the Arakan forest turtle, Heosemys depressa, in western Myanmar. Chelonian Conservation and Biology 4: 678–682.Google Scholar
- Platt, S.G., Thanda Swe, Win Ko Ko, K. Platt, Khin Myo Myo, T.R. Rainwater, and D. Emmett. 2011. Geochelone platynota (Blyth 1863) – Burmese Star Tortoise, Kye Leik. In Conservation biology of freshwater turtles and tortoises: A compilation project of the IUCN tortoise and freshwater turtle specialist group. Chelonian Research Monographs 5, ed. A.G.J. Rhodin, P.C.H. Pritchard, P.P. van Dijk, R.A. Samure, K.A. Buhlman, J.B. Iverson, and R.A. Mittermeier, 057.1–057.9. doi: 10.3854/crm.5.057.platynota.v1.2011.
- Ramirez, J., and A. Jarvis, A. 2008. High Resolution Statistically Downscaled Future Climate Surfaces. International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Cali, Colombia.Google Scholar
- Rao, M., Than Myint, Than Zaw, and Saw Htun. 2005. Hunting patterns in tropical forests adjoining the Hkakaborazi National Park, North Myanmar. Oryx 39: 292–300.Google Scholar
- Roberts, C.M., C.J. McClean, J.E.N. Veron, J.P. Hawkins, G.R. Allen, D.E. McAllister, C.G. Mittermeier, F.W. Schueler, M. Spalding, and F. Wells. 2002. Marine biodiversity hotspots and conservation priorities for tropical reefs. Science 295: 1280–1284.Google Scholar
- Russell, K.B., D.H. van Lear, and D.C. Guynn Jr. 1999. Prescribed fire effects on herpetofauna: review and management implications. Wildlife Society Bulletin 27: 374–384.Google Scholar
- SEAFDEC. 2012. Proceedings of the ASEAN–SEAFDEC Conference on Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security Towards 2020 “Fish for the People 2020: Adaptation to a Changing Environment”, Volume II: Thematic Panel Sessions, 13–17 June 2011, 311 pp. Bangkok, Thailand: Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center.Google Scholar
- Seimon, A., J. Watson, R. Dave, et al. 2011. A review of climate change adaptation. The Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group NGO Consortium, Wildlife Conservation Society, New York, and Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group, 124 pp.Google Scholar
- Smith, M. 1999. Myanmar: Insurgency and the politics of ethnicity. London and New York: Zed Books Ltd.Google Scholar
- Steinberg, D.I. 2001. Burma: The State of Myanmar. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.Google Scholar
- Steinberg, D.I. 2012. The significance of Burma’s/Myanmar’s by-elections. Asia Pacific Bulletin 156, East West Centre, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
- Taylor, R.H. 1987. The State in Burma. London: C. Hurst and Company.Google Scholar
- Thet Zaw Naing, 2003. Ecology of the White-browed Nuthatch Sitta victoriae in Natmataung National Park, Myanmar, with notes on other significant species. Forktail 19: 57–62.Google Scholar
- TKK (Helsinki University of Technology) and SEA START RC (Southeast Asia START Regional Center). 2009. Water and climate change in the Lower Mekong Basin: Diagnosis and recommendations for adaptation. Espoo: Water & Development Publications, Helsinki University of Technology.Google Scholar
- Tordoff, A.W., J.C. Eames, K. Eberhardt, M.C. Baltzer, P. Davidson, P. Leimgruber, Uga, and Aung Than. 2005. Myanmar investment opportunities in biodiversity conservation. Yangon, Myanmar: Birdlife International.Google Scholar
- United Nations. 2008. Post-Nargis Joint Assessment. A report prepared by the Tripartite Core Group comprised of Representatives of the Government of the Union of Myanmar, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the United Nations with the support of the Humanitarian and Development Community. http://www.aseansec.org/21765.pdf.
- van Strien, N.J., B. Manullang, Sectionov, W. Isnan, M.K.M. Khan, E. Sumardja, S. Ellis, K.H. Han, et al. 2008. Dicerorhinus sumatrensis. IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded on 16 May 2013.
- Watson, J.E.M., M. Cross, E. Rowland, L.N. Joseph, M. Rao, and A. Seimon. 2011a. Planning for species conservation in a time of climate change. Climate Change: Research and technology for climate change adaptation and mitigation 3: 379–402. http://www.intechopen.com/articles/show/title/planning-for-species-conservation-in-a-time-of-climate-change.
- Watson, J.E.M., H. Grantham, K.A. Wilson, and H.P. Possingham. 2011b. Systematic conservation planning: Past, present and future. In Conservation biogeography, ed. R. Whittaker, and R. Ladle. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Watson, J.E.M., M. Rao, A. Kang, and X. Yan. 2012. Climate change adaptation planning for biodiversity conservation: A review. Advances in Climate Change Research 3: 1–11.Google Scholar
- Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). 2012. Myanmar Biodiversity Conservation Investment Vision. Yangon, Myanmar: Wildlife Conservation Society.Google Scholar
- Woods, K., and K. Canby. 2012. Baseline Study 4. Myanmar: Overview of Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade. Forest Trends. Retrieved May 23, 2013, from http://forest-trends.org/publication_details.php?publicationID=3159.
- Xuan Canh, L., L. Khac Quyet, D. Thanh Hai, and R. Boonratana. 2008. Rhinopithecus avunculus. IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. Retrieved May 16, 2013, from www.iucnredlist.org.