MYANMAR: Seeing the wood for the trees | WWF

MYANMAR: Seeing the wood for the trees

Posted on
20 October 2016
Yangon: Clean water is one of the many benefits forests provide people, a benefit understood by rural communities, but repeatedly ignored in the development rush. Carefully planned and executed, this development can bring much-needed social and economic benefits to the people of Myanmar, but, if it proceeds unchecked, threatens Myanmar’s natural wealth, a critical foundation for the very progress the country seeks.

Some of the direct economic value of nature’s products and services can easily be calculated, for example, logging value of timber. However, nature also provides other important benefits that don’t usually end up on balance sheets, including clean, fresh water, climate regulation, livelihoods, and protection from natural disasters.

The challenge facing Myanmar, and many other countries across Asia, is how to develop without depleting nature and the benefits it provides. How can a country ensure its natural capital is not over-exploited or degraded in exchange for short-term economic gains?

At the request of the Myanmar government, WWF and partners have conducted the first ever national natural capital assessment, looking at what Myanmar has in its natural bank account and the benefits provided.

WWF is continuing to work on assessing Myanmar’s natural capital, moving from what natural capital Myanmar has, to how much it has and what is the cost if lost.

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