The Arakan Yoma Mountains hold the second largest contiguous lowland rainforest area in mainland Myanmar.
Where we work
Arakan Yoma Mountain Range
Arakan Yoma is critical for its ecosystem services in the Ayeyarwady Basin. The important watershed provides water to Myanmar’s arid zone, which is most affected by climate change. Well-preserved rainforest with great biodiversity still grows on and between the rugged mountains. Due to its great importance for the preservation of biodiversity in Myanmar, it will soon be placed under protection under the name Man River Wildlife Sanctuary. Together with the local communities, various conservation projects are to be implemented. For this, we are working with our local partners.
Animals & Plants
The Arakan Yoma Mountains are one of the most critical areas for the conservation of Myanmar’s biodiversity. The difficult-to-access area is home to numerous globally endangered species, such as one of the largest populations of the endangered western hoolock gibbons, pangolins, Phayre’s langurs, Asian black, and Malayan bears, dholes, and various hornbills.
Endangered vocal artists
The Arakan Mountains are home to a large population of the highly endangered Western White-brown Gibbons and are one of the most important areas for the conservation of this charismatic species. In the early hours of the morning their chants resound from the mountain peaks.
Mysterious mountain dweller
The forests on the mountain slopes are the home of the red serows. This relative of goats and chamois is extremely rare and very little is known about occurrence and distribution. They are often the target of sling hunting.
The spectacular hornbills play an important role in the distribution of seeds in the rainforest. Several hornbill species are found in the Arakan Mountains, including the rare brown hornbill.
Camera traps were used to detect the presence of Malayan and Ruffed bears. Both bear species have disappeared from many areas of Southeast Asia due to habitat loss and heavy hunting for the use of their body parts in traditional Chinese medicine.
People & Nature
The project area is located in one of the poorest regions of Myanmar. There are eleven villages with a population of approximately 2,000 in the area, four of which are in close proximity to the proposed conservation area. The majority of the local communities belong to the Chin ethnic minority, who rely on shifting cultivation and rice farming in the highlands for their livelihood. With an increase in human population, the cropping cycle has shortened, leading to a decline in soil fertility and consequent expansion of agriculture into the remaining primary forest.
Large forested areas have been transformed into a fragmented mosaic landscape with fields, secondary vegetation of various age, and remaining primary forest. In the long term, this leads to a decline in biodiversity and this threatens the survival of tree-living animals such as gibbons and hornbills.
Living in the mountains
The villages are scattered in the mountains and are sometimes difficult to access. Long hikes in steep terrain are the order of the day.
In the picture below left, a ranger shows school children how he counts and observes the gibbons in the forest.
Alternatives to shifting cultivation are essential for the sustainable safeguarding of local natural resources and the forest’s long-term protection. Coffee grown in a wildlife-friendly way can be a solution to this problem.
CfN in Arakan
Sustainable coffee production
Wildlife-friendly coffee and gibbon conservation.
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