IUCN, the Forest Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC) and the Nature Conservancy (TNC) are jointly organising a workshop aimed at supporting Myanmar’s efforts in restoring its degraded and deforested landscapes.
The three-day workshop, which will be held from November 9 to 11, will focus on introducing Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) to participants. FLR is an integrated approach that seeks to ensure that forests, trees, and the functions that they provide are effectively restored, conserved, and employed on a landscape-scale to help secure ecological integrity and sustainable livelihoods.
The workshop opened today with keynote speeches to set the context, followed by a high-level panel on FLR in Myanmar and a plenary discussion. The participants were also introduced to the Restoration Opportunities Assessment Methodology (ROAM). ROAM is a tool that provides a framework for countries to rapidly identify and analyse areas that are primed for FLR, and to identify specific priority areas for restoration at a national or sub-national level.
Myanmar has one of the highest percentages of forest coverage in Asia, with over 45 percent of the country covered with forests. However, in recent decades, the country has experienced significant deforestation and forest degradation due to unsustainable logging practices, high demand for fuelwood, as well as agricultural conversion.
Myanmar also has limited data on how its forested lands are being used.
“Successful implementation of approaches like FLR and ROAM would not only increase carbon sequestration and capacity to adapt to climate change through low-emission development strategies, but also create other benefits. This includes expanding habitats and migration corridors for biodiversity, enhancing food production, reducing soil erosion, and yielding clean water supplies,” said Mr. Jake Brunner, Head, Indo-Burma Group for IUCN.
On the second day of the workshop, participants will visit Yedashe Township in Taungoo District to learn from Myanmar’s experiences with reforestation and discuss best practices for FLR opportunities. The sessions on the final day are dedicated to developing a restoration planning roadmap for the country using the ROAM methodology.
“To reverse the significantly increasing trend of deforestation in Myanmar, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has called for a new policy to promote reforestation and forest restoration,” said His Excellency U Ohn Win, Union Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, in his speech addressing all participants during the opening of the workshop. “We need to build on your vast experience and knowledge when developing a roadmap for restoration planning in Myanmar. We must engage all relevant stakeholders including those whose activities may directly or indirectly impact the forest estate.”
“The Forest Department has also been generating lessons from reforestation efforts in Myanmar over several years,” said Dr. Tint Lwin Thaung, Myanmar Country Program Director, TNC. “We believe that the time is right to reflect and build on this experience and to work with Myanmar stakeholders to define a future for Myanmar’s forest estate in which it is able to support sustainable and equitable development. Taking a landscape approach to restoring the country’s prized forests is going to be a critical part of that process.”
Workshop participants were also introduced to The Restoration Initiative (TRI). Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), TRI supports effective restoration and conservation of degraded landscapes to help secure ecological integrity and sustainable livelihoods for the future.
Senior policy-makers and technical staff from various government agencies, as well as representatives from civil society are attending the workshop.
The workshop is co-funded by TNC and UK aid from the UK government through its Knowledge and Tools for Forest Landscape Restoration project (KNOWFOR) implemented by IUCN.