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WWF-Myanmar and WWF-Thailand working together to influence the Dawei Road Project

19 November 2015

The forest blocks in Tanintharyi in Myanmar link two forest blocks in Thailand, the Western Forest Complex and Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex. Establishing an ecological corridor would support wildlife and ecosystem services, critical to the well-being of people in the area. However, this ecological corridor is threatened by The Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and its planned road link that will cut across the Tenasserim Hills connecting Dawei with Bangkok, via Kanchanaburi.

Over the past couple of months, WWF met with the road developer, Myanmar union and regional government officials from Department of Highways and civil society to discuss the need for a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), the design of the road and mitigation measures. In September, WWF-Myanmar also visited the road together with infrastructure experts from the Natural Capital Project to verify areas identified for wildlife crossings and study bridges. 

WWF is now modeling species corridors along the road to provide information to the road developer and other relevant stakeholders on where securing corridors is important. “At the end of October, we are bringing together species experts from the region to verify the modeling as hard data on the wildlife is limited and the area is difficult to access. This modeling exercise will help planning not only of the road but the entire DTL,” said Paing Soe from WWF-Myanmar, who is leading the species corridor modeling exercise.

Together with landscape architects from University of Hong Kong, a design handbook for the road is also under development that will include design options for storm water and erosion control as well as wildlife crossings, including measures to address poaching and using these crossings for monitoring of species.  The species corridor modeling and the design handbook will hopefully be finished by the end of the year, before construction of the Dawei road is meant to begin. However, looking at the broader land use and connectivity of the entire DTL as well as anti-poaching measures in both the Myanmar and Thai parts of the landscape will be critical to ensure the integrity of the entire landscape.
Media Contact
Ye Min Thwin
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