Tanintharyi National Park (proposed) on Karen indigenous lands, Tanintharyi region, Myanmar

“Conservation organizations […] have so far failed to acknowledge the importance of Karen communities as forest defenders in protecting forest resources from outside incursions" [1]


The proposed Tanintharyi National Park is part of a series of conservation zones planned to be established in Southern Myanmar. The project has caused severe concerns over social and livelihood impacts on indigenous forest dwellers. A group of civil society organizations, called the Conservation Alliance of Tanawthari (CAT), launched a report in Feburary 2018 entitled “Our Forest, Our Life” that examines the threats of conservation to customary forest users. The report [see 1] documents the vital role of the affected people in maintaining and protecting the biodiverse environment and demands that they must not be excluded from the forest area proposed to be turned into a National Park.

See more...
Basic Data
NameTanintharyi National Park (proposed) on Karen indigenous lands, Tanintharyi region, Myanmar
ProvinceTanintharyi region
SiteTanintharyi township, Myeik district
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Establishment of reserves/national parks
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific CommoditiesLand
Ecosystem Services
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsAccording to a report by Oikos and BANCA on protected areas in Myanmar [2], the Tanintharyi National Park was proposed in 2002 and covers an area of 2071,81 km2 (207,181 ha). The main purpose of the park is habitat and biodiversity conservation and the park covers typical evergreen forests, hill forests, and mangrove forests. Key animals found in the area are Sambar Deer, Asian Elephants, Red Gorals, Leopards and others. The altitudes within the park range from sea level to 1,490 m. IUCN characterizes the park as a category II park.

The park covers a contiguous forest area with Kaeng Krachan National Park in Thailand [1].

While currently there is only one protected area, the Tanintharyi Nature Reserve (170,000 ha), two more proposed areas, the Lenya National Park and the Tanintharyi National Park, would cover an additional area of 1,3 million acres (ca. 526,000 ha). Moreover, further plans for a Tanintharyi Nature Corridor connecting these areas are being made [1].
Project Area (in hectares)207,181
Level of Investment (in USD)unknown
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population14,181 people living within the national park boundaries
Start Date2002
Relevant government actorsNature, Wildlife and Conservation Division (NWCD), which is a division of the Forest department. The forest department is part of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC)

and others
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersConservation Alliance of Tanawthari (CAT), an alliance of seven civil society groups: Tenasserim River & Indigenous People Networks (TRIP NET)

Community Sustainable Livelihood and Development (CSLD)

Tarkapaw Youth Group (TKP)

Candle Light (CL)

Southern Youth (SY)

Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN)

Tanintharyi Friends (TF)

and others
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Karen indigenous communities
landless peasant as "internally displaced people -IDPs- that return to their homelands"
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Other Environmental impacts
OtherPotential biodiversity loss due to loss of indigenous livelihood practices relevant for biodiversity [see 6,7]
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Malnutrition
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Otherinternally displaced people (IDPs) will be unable to return to their homelands [1]
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseStrengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Project temporarily suspended
Development of AlternativesInstead of the current centralized conservation model that fails to protect the rights of indigenous, the groups call for conservation alternatives led by indigenous communities: “An Indigenous Community Conservation Area in Kamoethway and plans to establish the Salween Peace Park are examples of this alternative model that promotes a people-centered approach to conservation, supporting local people and institutions to strengthen traditional methods of forest protection. This bottom-up model of community-led conservation is proving extremely successful both in Tanintharyi and other parts of the globe, signalling an important paradigm shift for conservation. Within this model indigenous communities can be recognized as the owners, managers and protectors of resources with positive results for both human rights and biodiversity conservation” [1, page 6].
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The project has been stalled, however, fears remain over a revival due to the plans to establish a large wildlife corridor across the entire Tanintharyi region.
Sources and Materials

1992 Forest Law
[click to view]

The Pinheiro Principles - Housing and property restitution in the context of the return of refugees and internally displaced persons
[click to view]

1994 Protection of Wildlife and Conservation Natural Areas Law
[click to view]

2012 Environmental Conservation Law
[click to view]

2012 Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Lands Management Law
[click to view]


[1] Conservation Alliance of Tanawthari (2018) "Our Forest, Our Life: Protected Areas in Tanintharyi Region Must Respect the Rights of Indigenous Peoples".

[2] Istituto Oikos and BANCA (2011) Myanmar Protected Areas: Context, Current Status and Challenges.
[click to view]

[6] Padoch, C., & Pinedo-Vasquez, M. (2010). Saving Slash-and-Burn to Save Biodiversity. Biotropica, 42(5), 550–552.
[click to view]

[7] Eduardo Brondizio, François-Michel Le Tourneau. (2016). Environmental governance for all. Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 352 (6291), pp.1272-1273
[click to view]


Wikipedia on the Tanintharyi National Park
[click to view]

[3] MITV 21 February 2018. "“OUR FOREST, OUR LIFE”: REPORT LAUNCHED FOR THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE" . (accessed online 23.05.2018).
[click to view]

[4] Reuters, 21 February 2018 "Myanmar parks could stop thousands of Karen refugees returning home" (accessed online 23.05.2018)
[click to view]

[2] Frontier Myanmar, 21 February 2018. "Tanintharyi locals say national park conservation plan threatening livelihoods" (accessed online 23.05.2018)
[click to view]

Other Documents

Tanintharyi National Park description according to Oikos and BANCA Source: Istituto Oikos and BANCA (2011) Myanmar Protected Areas: Context, Current Status and Challenges., see https://web.archive.org/web/20120417063155/http://www.banca-env.org/ebook.pdf
[click to view]

Villages in an at the border of the proposed Tanintharyi National Park Source: Conservation Alliance of Tanawthari (2018) "Our Forest, Our Life: Protected Areas in Tanintharyi Region Must Respect the Rights of Indigenous Peoples"
[click to view]

CAT report launch in Yangon, February 2018 Source and credit: http://www.myanmaritv.com/news/%E2%80%9Cour-forest-our-life%E2%80%9D-report-launched-rights-indigenous-people
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorEJatlas Southeast Asia Team (ejatlas.asia"at"gmail.com)
Last update29/05/2018