"Special Seminars of CSEAS visiting research fellows"

14:00-17:10, April 20 (Tue), 2004
E207, East Building of CSEAS

Seminar 1: 14:00-15:30
  Dr. Pipat Patanaponpaiboon,CSEAS Visiting Research Fellow
"A Case for Mangrove Forest Rehabilitation"
Mangrove forests are occupied by a unique group of trees or shrubs growing on the intertidal zones of tropical and subtropical estuaries, creeks where the salt water reaches. Furthermore, as mangrove forests settle in the estuaries where abundant sediments accumulate through upstream flows and daily tides, they act as a nursery for juvenile aquatic animals. This diversity of animals and the unique vegetation type gives mangrove forests the potential for ecological tourism, further merit for their conservation. Therefore, the mangrove forests are recognized as a valuable ecological and economic resource. In the last few decades, mangrove forests in Southeast Asia have been exploited by charcoal and timber production, tin mining, coastal industrialization and urbanization, and coastal aquaculture like shrimp farming, which has a significant impact on the decreasing forests.

Mangrove rehabilitation or restoration is an effective option that has been initiated successfully in various destroyed areas of mangrove forest. However, it is remarkable that the rehabilitation of mangrove forest is not easy. Previous rehabilitation was mostly carried out by trial-and-error, and the available information on rehabilitation is mostly available for Rhizophora. Failed mangrove forest rehabilitation is probably due to inadequate site assessment or an improper species of mangrove seedlings being planted in the defined area. The soil elevation and flooding regime should be also taken into consideration. Although mangrove rehabilitation appears to be possible, restoring the complexity of animals and microbial components is still questionable.

To deal with the problem of mangrove forest degradation, increasing public awareness of the true value of this forest is recommended. At the same time, the success of the mangrove rehabilitation depends upon closer cooperation by local communities. It is suggested that an optimal-wide green belt of mangrove forest along the shorelines should normally be present in a good condition. The area behind the green belt can be provided for traditional utilization in a sustainable and environment-friendly manner.

Coffee Break 15:30-15:40
Seminar 2: 15:40-17:10
  Dr. Aung Than, CSEAS Visiting Research Fellow
"Sustainable Tropical Forest Management: Myanmar Perspectives"
The Bountiful and Successful Past
      The successive development of scientific tropical forest management in Myanmar in the past 150 years since its birth in 1856 has been recognized by many and authoritatively by the FAO, in its January 2004 report 'The State of the World's Forests 2003', the near perfect Myanmar Selection System (MSS) as successful in managing the country's vast forest resources on sustainable basis. Today, 52% of the country land area (353,000 km2) is still covered with protective and roductive tropical forests. The per capita forest area of Myanmar, 0.8 ha, is moderate compared to the Asian average of 0.2 ha and Southeast Asian average of 0.5 ha. The nation's foreign exchange earnings have been topped by the forestry sector for the last two decades with the peak of as high as 43% of the nation's total in 1986-87. The internal consumption needs of timber and other forest products of the people including the subsistence needs of the forest dwellers also have mostly been met in the past.

The Ugly and Difficult Present
       The FAO, despite its optimism, is very concern of the deforestation rate of Myanmar, which is alarming at 1.4% as indicated by satellite imagery data on Myanmar forest cover for the last decade of 1990 -2000. It is significantly high compared to the Asia's average of 0.05% and the world's average of 0.24% and is increasing compared to earlier estimates.
      The main culprit of deforestation in Myanmar is truly observed as illegal logging and over-logging together with the usual agricultural expansion and shifting cultivation. The situation is rightfully put as the result of complex political and socio-economic implication during the socialist era and most significantly during the past two decades.
      Despite the difficulties even to look seriously into the true situation of the tropical forest management dilemma of Myanmar, it must be solved by hook or by crook if the valuable tropical forests of South-east Asia are to be preserved on sustainable basis for the sake of not only Myanmar and her people but also for the people of the region. But How?

Agriculture and Forestry
      Agriculture and forestry are in the same fate facing the same dilemma if it comes to the concern of food security and survival of the people. And the solution to the forestry problems could only be found outside of the forests rather than inside. In view of this wisdom, forestry and agriculture must work together towards the sustainable future.


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