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Prioritizing key biodiversity areas for conservation based on threats and ecosystem services using participatory and GIS-based modeling in Chindwin River Basin, Myanmar

Biodiversity in the Chindwin Basin in Myanmar is coming under threat from commercial logging, mining, and agriculture. This paper applies a mixed approach to assess the level of threat and to quantify key ecosystem services in the basin. The method integrates local participation and can assist in better biodiversity conservation.

Manish Shrestha, Thanapon Piman, Clemens Grünbühel / Published on 29 January 2021

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Citation

Shrestha, M., Piman, T., Grünbühel, C. (2021). Prioritizing key biodiversity areas for conservation based on threats and ecosystem services using participatory and GIS-based modeling in Chindwin River Basin, Myanmar. Ecosystem Services, 48. 101244. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2021.101244

The varied ecosystems within the Chindwin River Basin (CRB) and its natural biodiversity make it one of the most critical hotspots in the Indo-Burma region. Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) in the CRB are increasingly facing threats from development activities, such as commercial logging, mining, and agriculture.

This study applies a mixed approach to assess the level of threat and to quantify key ecosystem services at the basin and KBA levels. A GIS-based Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) approach was used to assess threats from key economic sectors via stakeholder participation. The InVEST model was applied to assess ecosystem services including water yield, sediment retention, nutrient retention, and carbon storage.

The most significant threats to biodiversity in the basin were found to be mining, logging, dam construction, and agriculture. The highest degree of ecosystem services was found in the northern CRB, which is almost completely covered by forest. Overall, 87% of KBAs provide a high degree of ecosystem services. The KBAs were prioritized for conservation based on the threat level and degree of ecosystems provided, as well as in consultation with stakeholders. The results of this study provide a strategic focus for preparing an environment conservation strategy and action plan for the CRB in Myanmar.

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SEI authors

Thanapon Piman
Thanapon Piman

Senior Research Fellow

SEI Asia

Clemens Grünbühel
Clemens Grünbühel

SEI Affiliated Researcher

SEI Asia

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Topics and subtopics
Land : Ecosystems / Water : Planning and modelling
Related centres
SEI Asia
Regions
Myanmar

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