Natural capital assessments can guide regional development planning and protect areas that provide ecosystem services to local communities. With its wealth of biodiversity and planned development and infrastructure projects, the Tanintharyi region is a good example of how information about natural capital can contribute to better regional planning.
Mangroves, corals and sea grasses protect people living along the coast from coastal storms and erosion. They also provide habitat for marine species, as well as food and livelihoods for people.
Forests and vegetation soak up water during the rainy season and release it slowly during the dry season to be used by households and agriculture.
The region’s large carbon sink, if managed well, can generate income through carbon credit schemes and mitigate climate change in Myanmar and globally.
Healthy forests are critical to Myanmar’s climate resilience as they absorb carbon dioxide, reduce flooding and erosion and helping to regulate changes in climate.
Forests soak up water from storms, thereby reducing flood risk and erosion downstream.
The region’s forests provide habitat for countless species, including tigers, elephants and leopards. They also provide a corridor for wildlife wandering between Thailand to Myanmar to feed, mate and migrate.
Forests and vegetation help provide clean water to people by holding soil in place and keeping it from eroding and washing into rivers and streams.
Keeping forests healthy is essential to preventing landslides – as trees help to hold soil in place during storms and earthquakes.
Forests in the mountainous areas of the Tanintharyi play an important role in retaining sediment and maintaining clean water for downstream population centres that rely on rivers and streams for their drinking water.
Forests and other natural ecosystems regulate the seasonal flow of water downstream by increasing infiltration and recharging sources of groundwater. Much of the forests in Tanintharyi are important to maintaining water supply during the dry season.
Mangroves and other coastal habitats in the region play an important role in protecting people who live along the coast from storms (Map 8c). Loss of these habitats to development would put a large segment of the population at risk of coastal hazards.
In the national map, forests in the north and west stand out as areas providing clean drinking water to densely populated areas downstream. Areas, such as Tanintharyi are less densely populated and therefore the importance of forests to local people is less visible in a national map. By zooming in, it becomes clear that forests in Tanintharyi play a substantial role in retaining sediment - benefiting local communities.