The wetland of focus, Inle Lake, located in central Myanmar, is well known for its unique biodiversity and culture, as well as for ingenious floating garden agriculture. During the last decades, the lake area has seen extensive degradation in terms of water quality, erosion, deforestation, and biodiversity concomitant with a major shift to unsustainable land use. The study was conducted, with an emphasis on water quality, to analyze environmental impacts (effects) changing the ecosystem and to comprehensively evaluate the environmental state of the ecosystem through an innovative Rapid Cumulative Effects Assessment framework tool. The assessment started with a framework-forming Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), which quantified and prioritized impacts over space and time. Critically important impacts were assessed for “intra-inter interactions” using the loop analysis simulation. Water samples were analyzed while geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing were used to identify water pollution hotspots. It was concluded that out of a plethora of impacts, pollution from municipal sources, sedimentation, and effects exerted by floating gardens had the most detrimental impacts, which cumulatively affected the entire ecosystem. The framework tool was designed in a broad sense with a reference to highly needed assessments of poorly studied wetlands where degradation is evident, but scarcely quantified, and where long-term field studies are fraught with security issues and resource unavailability (post-conflict, poor and remote regions, e.g., Afghanistan, Laos, Sudan, etc.)
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We gratefully acknowledge contribution of Prof. A. Annachhatre, Dr. L. Dabbadie, and Nay Chi Mo Aung of the Asian Institute of Technology and Mr. Min Myo Thu, Managing Director, EcoDev, Myanmar, for their helpful comments and suggestions. Wetland Alliance Program (SIDA), British Council’s DelPHE programme, and Asian Development Bank are also gratefully acknowledged for providing financial assistance to carry out the research.
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Pradhan, N., Habib, H., Venkatappa, M. et al. Framework tool for a rapid cumulative effects assessment: case of a prominent wetland in Myanmar. Environ Monit Assess 187, 341 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-015-4508-4