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Feature: Myanmar Strives to Prote

Subject: Feature: Myanmar Strives to   Protect Mangroves 


               Feature: Myanmar Strives to
               Protect Mangroves


               By Duan Tingchang 

               YANGON, November 4 (Xinhua)-- Myanmar has been striving to
protect and
               preserve its mangroves as they are essential for sustainable
food security of the
               country's delta population. 

               Mangrove is one of the most productive ecosystems for the
maintenance of food
               web in an aquatic environment. It also plays a role in
protecting soil, and as a
               moderator for salinity and resource of timber, fuelwood,
charcoal and a range of
               non-wood forest products. 

               There are about 3.14 million acres (1.27 million hectares)
of mangroves in
               Myanmar, covering about 4 percent of the country's forest
and making up over
               48 percent of the 2.61-million-hectare global mangrove

               Of the country's mangroves, about 46 percent are in
Ayeyawady division, a
               delta region in the country's southwestern part. 

               The landsat study shows that the Ayeyawady mangroves were
being depleted
               three times faster than the other forests in Myanmar. 

               Depletion of the region's mangroves was mainly due to high
demand of firewood
               and charcoal from the capital of Yangon and conversion for
agriculture land. 

               In view of the serious and alarming effects of the depletion
of mangroves, the
               government has called for international assistance to
redress the increasing
               fuelwood demand in the Ayeyawady delta and develop the
planting technology
               for rehabilitating degraded and demanded areas to conserve
the mangrove

               In cooperation with the United Nations Development Program
and the Food
               and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Myanmar conducted a
pilot mangrove
               project, a feasibility study on mangrove reforestation from
March 1991 to
               December 1993 and an Ayeyawady mangrove community
development project
               from February 1994 to December 1995. 

               The projects were aimed at promoting sustainable human
development by
               improving the socio-economic welfare of disadvantageous
communities in critical
               areas in the coastal Ayeyawady delta, through mangrove
               regeneration and protection, fisheries income generation and
promotion of
               sufficiency in wood fuel and wood products. 

               A total of 48 villages, 16 from Laputta township and 32 from
Bogalay township
               in the Ayeyawady division which mainly involve in
agriculture, forestry and
               fishery, were selected as project villages. 

               The projects' personnel attended various short courses and
workshops, toured
               Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam in 1995 and planted 3.6
million seedlings and
               cuttings with the participation of the villagers. 

               In January 1996, a high-level executive board meeting of the
FAO in New York
               agreed to extend its human development initiatives to
Myanmar for another three
               years from November 1996 to April 1999 with funding of 52
million U.S.
               dollars for continuous implementation of the Ayeyawady
mangroves project. 

               Myanmar's mangroves have been rehabilitated to a certain
extent due to the
               efforts of the government and awareness of the local


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