After decades of seclusion, Myanmar (previously known as Burma) is relatively undeveloped compared to its neighbors and has conserved many of its natural resources.
Myanmar is one of the most biologically diverse countries in Southeast Asia. Its richly varied terrain ranges from high mountain peaks to golden teak forests to coral reefs and mangroves. Myanmar is home to rare and endangered animals including Asian elephants, tigers, red pandas and Irrawaddy dolphins.
Through our leadership of the Responsible Asia Forestry and Trade (RAFT) Program, The Nature Conservancy has been working to reduce tropical deforestation and forest degradation in Myanmar and the Asia Pacific region. We officially established our Myanmar program in 2016.
How We Work
We plan to work on healthy and productive rivers to ensure conservation of river systems while protecting fish populations. In addition, the country is highly vulnerable to climate change: Myanmar’s citizens rely directly on natural resource systems (e.g., agriculture, forestry and freshwater fisheries) that are susceptible to changes in temperature and precipitation, and much of the population lives in low-lying areas that are at increased risk of flooding.
Where We Work
Myanmar is the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia and includes some of the region’s most extensive and intact forests. Bordered by the Himalayas to the north, India to the west, China to the east and peninsular Thailand to the south, the country is home to forests, flora and fauna that are shaped by diverse climatic zones and the many rivers running throughout, including the Irrawaddy, Salween and Sittaung.
These forests and rivers are the lifeblood of the country’s people: Approximately 70 percent of Myanmar’s citizens live in rural areas and are heavily dependent on forests for their needs, including wood for fuel, while river fish are a primary source of protein.
In addition, the country’s richly varied habitats support many rare and increasingly threatened wildlife, such as Asian elephants, tigers, red pandas, snub-nosed monkeys, Irrawaddy dolphins and more than 100 vulnerable species of fish. Comprehensive biological surveys have lagged behind other countries, but as surveys expand, new species are discovered every year.
Many timber elephants in Myanmar now lack basic food, water, medical care and protection.
Myanmar has some of the most extensive forests in Southeast Asia, but they’re at grave risk for degradation and deforestation.
Overfishing and habitat degradation are a growing threat to Myanmar’s fish populations and national food security.