Myanmar needs to conserve 100,000 acres of mangrove forest every year to withstand the impact of natural disasters, said U Ohn, chair of the Forest Resource Environment Development and Conservation Association (FREDA).
Although the government plans to plant 20,000 acres of mangrove forest nationwide, this amount will not aid in the prevention against the impacts of climate change in coastal areas, he said.
“The government is planting new trees every year, but they are facing difficulties in sustaining the forests. Mangrove trees will surely die out if they are not taken care of after planting. If the so-called ‘people-centred’ green and business development plan is to be implemented, the government needs to encourage the public to participate in maintaining the forests,” U Ohn said.
Civil organisations working for environmental conservation say they are aiming to preserve mangrove forests, which are a major requirement for the prevention of natural disasters in the coastal areas of Ayeyarwaddy, Rakhine, Tanintharyi and Mon states and regions. The department of Environmental Conservation and Forestry have also assigned a new division to emphasise mangrove forest conservation.
The government is currently developing mangrove forests in Kyauktan and Kawhmu in Yangon region, but environmental conservation groups say they should be focusing on the watershed areas of Ayeyarwaddy, Chindwin and Sit Taung rivers.
Nationwide, mangrove tree coverage previously stood at 50 percent of the coastal areas, but only 20 percent saw sustainable growth, while 30 percent was over-exploited, U Win Maung, project manager from the Ecology Conservation and Public Cluster Development, said.