In 2016, following years of experience in the development and implementation of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation), FFI began the application of a five-year project that will deliver a fully operational National REDD+ pilot in the community-state co-managed Wonegizi Proposed Protected Area (WPPA), helping at least 3,000 smallholders to sustainably manage land and natural resources.
In 2016, FFI established a formal partnership for coastal biodiversity conservation in Myanmar. The partnership collaboration focuses on providing technical and capacity building support for the marine science departments of Myanmar’s universities, in particular Pathein University, to lay the foundations for future involvement in biodiversity assessment, environmental impact assessments and monitoring.
The biodiversity of karst areas is poorly known and yet these systems are typically home to large numbers of severely range-restricted species. The major threats to karst ecosystems in Myanmar are poorly planned quarrying for cement, insensitive tourism, wildfires and hunting. Without attention to karst ecosystems and the species they harbour, extinctions are inevitable. Since economic sanctions have been lifted and Myanmar issued a new foreign investment law, construction is booming and so is the cement market.
Indawgyi Lake is Southeast Asia’s third largest lake with outstanding biodiversity and cultural values. The lake and its associated wetland is an important wintering site for more than 20,000 water birds. Seasonally flooded grassland supports a significant population of the endangered hog deer, while the forests of the watershed harbour globally threatened mammal species such as the eastern hoolock gibbon, Shortridge’s langur, Asiatic black bear, Chinese pangolin and gaur.
Since 2013, FFI has been conducting fish and other aquatic habitat surveys in collaboration with the relevant government departments and local universities. The focus has been on identifying endemic and threatened fish species and key freshwater biodiversity sites in the Upper Irrawaddy basin, and piloting community-based fish conservation. More than ten potentially new fish species have been identified.
An FFI-led team discovered a new species of snub-nosed monkey in the Imawbum Mountain Range in northern Myanmar in 2010. The Myanmar snub-nosed monkey’s range is believed to be less than 400 km2, with an estimated population of 260 - 330 individuals. The species has been classified as critically endangered and is restricted to the high-altitude zone of the Imawbum massif between the N’mai River and the Chinese border.
From 2010 to 2012, FFI undertook a nationwide survey of hoolock gibbons and a review of the conservation status of both eastern and western hoolock gibbon in Myanmar . We found that deforestation and hunting had exterminated both species from many sites.
Bantimurung-Bulusaraung National Park in South Sulawesi is characterised by steep, forest-clad hills and deep caves and contains the second largest karst (naturally eroded limestone) landscape in the world (after South China). Maros-Pangkep karst landscape covers about 40,000 hectares and features a distinctive type of karst formation known as tower karst.
The Raja Ampat Islands are an Indonesian archipelago off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula in West Papua. The islands contain globally important coral reefs and are an Endemic Bird Area, home to threatened species such as the endangered Waigeo brush-turkey, and two near threatened birds-of-paradise (Wilson’s and red).
Sumatra’s Kampar Peninsula is the largest remaining peat swamp forest in Riau Province. This landscape is home to at least 492 species, including protected and threatened wildlife such as the Sumatran tiger, Sunda pangolin, sun bear, false gharial, several hornbill species and dipterocarp and ramin trees. FFI conducted a biodiversity assessment in 2014 - 2015 and has also developed a management and monitoring plan of high conservation value areas to support conservation management of several Ecosystem Restoration Concessions.