Correct participation from conservationists can help protect our biodiversity

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With several species of rare and endangered birds and animals making it their home, Myanmar has a rich biodiversity. To conserve and protect it, we need to adopt good strategies that take climate change and people into account.
Ten per cent of the world’s bird species are found in Myanmar. Rare birds such as the Baer’s pochard and the Spoon-billed Sandpiper can also be spotted here. Only 150 to 700 Baer’s pochards are left in the world, and the global population of Spoon-billed Sandpipers is estimated at 2,500.
Of the seven existing species of sea turtles, five are found in Myanmar, which is also home to 10 per cent of freshwater turtles and tortoises (land-dwelling species).
Other animal species under the threat of extinction, such as the tiger, elephant, leopard, gaur, mountain goat, deer, sharp, and whale, can also be found in Myanmar. The country also has more than 18,000 plant species, including those endemic to the country.
New species are frequently being discovered in Myanmar, and more plant species can be identified if further research is conducted.
Therefore, Myanmar requires a good plan to conserve biodiversity and protect conservation areas.
The 30-year National Forestry Master Plan (2001-2002 to 2030-2031) has set a target of designating 10 per cent of the country’s total area as forest reserve. So far, Myanmar has established 44 nature conservation areas, which make up 5.85 per cent of the country’s total area.
Myanmar also drew up a five-year management plan for the ASEAN heritage parks — the Alaungdaw Kathapha and Natmataung national parks, and the Intawgyi and Meinmahla Kyun wildlife sanctuaries — in 2018. The plans are being implemented with financial assistance from the Union Government and aid from the Small Grant Program, which is jointly being implemented by the Forest Department and the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity.
Management plans for the remaining wildlife parks such as Chatthin, Shwesettaw, Poppa, and Moeyungyi are being drafted.
The plans must take the impact of climate change, being observed today, into consideration.
The threat of climate change highlights the need to embrace ecosystem-based strategies that will enable people to be resilient and allow species to survive.
With good management and planning, we can protect our biodiversity and build a strong buffer to the likely effects of climate change.
Saving our natural resources and biodiversity requires filling knowledge gaps and correctly anticipating the responses of the environment and the people in a changing world.

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