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Forest cover change patterns in Myanmar (Burma) 1990–2000

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 December 2005

PETER LEIMGRUBER*
Affiliation:
Smithsonian Institution, National Zoological Park, Conservation and Research Center, Front Royal, VA 22630, USA
DANIEL S. KELLY
Affiliation:
Smithsonian Institution, National Zoological Park, Conservation and Research Center, Front Royal, VA 22630, USA
MARC K. STEININGER
Affiliation:
Conservation International, 1919 M Street, NW Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036, USA
JAKE BRUNNER
Affiliation:
Conservation International, 1919 M Street, NW Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036, USA
THOMAS MÜLLER
Affiliation:
Smithsonian Institution, National Zoological Park, Conservation and Research Center, Front Royal, VA 22630, USA
MELISSA SONGER
Affiliation:
Smithsonian Institution, National Zoological Park, Conservation and Research Center, Front Royal, VA 22630, USA
*
*Correspondence: Dr Peter Leimgruber Tel: +1 540 635 6559 Fax: +1 540 635 6506 e-mail: leimgruberp@crc.si.edu

Summary

Myanmar is one of the most forested countries in mainland South-east Asia. These forests support a large number of important species and endemics and have great value for global efforts in biodiversity conservation. Landsat satellite imagery from the 1990s and 2000s was used to develop a countrywide forest map and estimate deforestation. The country has retained much of its forest cover, but forests have declined by 0.3% annually. Deforestation varied considerably among administrative units, with central and more populated states and divisions showing the highest losses. Ten deforestation hotspots had annual deforestation rates well above the countrywide average. Major reasons for forest losses in these hotspots stemmed from increased agricultural conversion, fuelwood consumption, charcoal production, commercial logging and plantation development. While Myanmar continues to be a stronghold for closed canopy forests, several areas have been experiencing serious deforestation. Most notable are the mangrove forests in the Ayeyarwady delta region and the remaining dry forests at the northern edge of the central dry zone.

Type
Papers
Copyright
Copyright © Foundation for Environmental Conservation 2005

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