The right to community forest in Tanintharyi Region

When Charcoal burners began casting covetous eyes over the mangrove forest next to coastal Kanyin Chaung village in Tanintharyi Region, its residents joined forces to protect a natural resource that had served their community for generations.

The threat emerged in about 2005 and it worried the mainly ethnic Karen villagers, who had seen the destruction wrought by charcoal burners on mangrove forests in nearby coastal areas.

Then the villagers had some good fortune. A retired professor from the University of Forestry and Environmental Science lived in a nearby village called Aout Thayet Chaung. He told them they could apply to manage the mangrove forest for 30 years under what’s known as the Community Forest Instructions, which were issued by the military government in 1995, the same year it released a Myanmar Forest Policy.

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Kyaw Lin Htoon