22 June 2017
Inndawgyi Lake is the second UNESCO biosphere reserve named in Myanmar after Inle Lake. Inndawgyi has also been designated a UNESCO Ramsar Site.
Inndawgyi Lake, which at about 12,000 ha wide is the third largest lake in Southeast Asia, is a wetland surrounded by fields and a forested watershed. Unless agriculture and forests are managed sustainably, the ecosystem of the lake could suffer damage because of agricultural encroachment or unsustainable logging, said an announcement of the designation.
A zoning approach, including core conservation zones, buffer zones, and sustainable development zones, will be used in the management of the biosphere reserve to face the challenges, the announcement said.
The core zone will be strictly protected and focus on the most critical parts of the ecosystem like the fish-breeding area and the remaining primary forest habitat for animals, including endangered ones.
The buffer zones will support sustainable natural resources such as community forests, fisheries and eco-tourism, which provides sustainable livelihoods for the local Shan and Kachin communities.
The development zone is aimed at sustainable development to safeguard the overall environmental integrity of the lake basin through the support of all relevant government agencies.
“The biosphere reserve designation not only recognises Inndawgyi’s globally outstanding biodiversity, but also highlights the government’s commitment to collaborative management and to integration of conservation and sustainable development for the benefit of local communities,” U Nyi Nyi Kyaw, director general of the forest department, said.
Inndawgyi Lake provides livelihoods for about 50,000 people and has a great diversity of mammals, water birds, fish, and reptiles, the announcement said.
Inndawgyi Lake is the habitat of globally threatened birds, fish, turtles, primates and other mammals. The lake and wetlands are an important stopover point for migratory birds on the East Asian-Australia flyway.
More than 160 bird species have been recorded in the area, including many globally threatened species. About 15 globally threatened mammals have been recorded there. A total of 93 fish species are known to inhabit the lake and its basin.
The lake is also the habitat of three endangered tortoise species and two vulnerable tortoise species.
“The Inndawgyi biosphere reserve will become a model region for integrating biodiversity, conservation and sustainable development, and a centre for science and education for sustainable development in Myanmar,” Frank Momberg, director of Fauna & Flora International Myanmar, said.
The designation was coordinated by MONREC and FFI in cooperation with Friends of Wildlife, Inndawgyi Conservation and Development Association, Inn Chit Thu, Shan Cultural Association, Mohnyin University and the Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association.
Source: Myanmar Times 22 June 2017