It is also important to engage local communities in the conservation and sustainable use of Myanmar's forest resources. Population growth, logging, intensification of agriculture, and rapid industrialization pose dangerous threats to the country's forest ecosystems, upon which the majority of the population depends for food, shelter, and medicine. Commercial demand for specific forest resources is pushing communities toward a destructive cycle of short-term gains, leading to over-exploitation of resources. Garden scientists will partner with communities to help ensure their natural resource use is sustainable by identifying economically important plant resources, collecting baseline data on density and yield, and developing management plans for sustainable resource use.
Myanmar Program Builds on Garden Model of Conserving Threatened Floras
The Garden's Myanmar program builds on a model established more than 20 years ago in the Brazilian state of Acre to document highly diverse but unknown and heavily threatened floras. Efforts there have led to the expansion of protected areas, greater oversight of the management of the region's timber resources, and conservation of endemic plant species. This model is now being used successfully in various places in the New World tropics and Southeast Asia.
"It's an integrated approach that considers human and institutional resources as much as it does natural resources," said Douglas C. Daly, Ph.D., Director of the Garden's Institute of Systematic Botany and B. A. Kru
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The New York Botanical Garden