In order to save ourselves, we need to save nature’s bank account—its natural capital. Simply put, natural capital is the stock of natural assets—land, water, soil, plants, wildlife and air—that provides benefits to people. These benefits are called “ecosystem services.” Natural capital is critical to human well-being and underpins economic productivity.
The same forests, mountains, oceans and rivers of Myanmar that are beneficial to people often are ideal habitat for a wide array of species—as large as Irrawaddy dolphins, Rosewood trees and Indochinese tigers and as small as black-bellied terns and Balloon frogs.
But much of their habitat is under threat. When roads
are built through forests, for example, poaching and vehicle collisions with wildlife can increase. Maneuvering and migrating through the forest becomes challenging, too, making it harder for wildlife to find food, mate and more. No species—including people or wildlife—benefit from the habitat under these conditions. Fragmentation and degradation of important habitat can be avoided if the areas are designated as protected and development is well planned.