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Tanintharyi Nature Reserve conservation area funded by gas pipeline developers, Myanmar

The conservation area claims to compensate for the impacts of three gas pipelines, excluding however indigenous practices and failing to respect rights of people to return to their homelands.


The Tanintharyi Nature Reserve (TNR) was among the first protected areas in Tanintharyi region. Established in 2005 in Yebyu and Dawei townships, the conservation zone covers about 170,000 ha [1]. The project is funded by major gas companies that run three pipelines across the area and the main aim is to compensate for some impacts on biodiversity caused by the pipelines and support facilities. In relation to this aim, the conservation project is proposed to continue for the lifetime of the pipelines, at least until 2028 (see Project Details, below). 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Tanintharyi Nature Reserve conservation area funded by gas pipeline developers, Myanmar
State or province:Tanintharyi
Location of conflict:Yebyu and Dawei township
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Establishment of reserves/national parks
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Ecosystem Services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Tanintharyi Nature Reserve (TNR) is a public-private partnership project developed by Myanmar’s Forest Department and several private companies that have constructed pipelines across the area of the Nature Reserve. The conservation zone was established through a ministerial notification on 30th March 2005 and covers about 420,000 acres (ca. 170,000 ha). Technical support was provided by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the company ‘The Biodiversity Consultancy’ was contracted to document and review the project [see 2]. The Forest Department has the full responsibility to implement the work plans established for each phase. The partnership model is based on a voluntary contract between the partners and was developed independent of any clear legal framework [see 2].

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Project area:170,000 ha
Level of Investment for the conflictive project4,200,000 (Phase 1,2,3)
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:unknown
Start of the conflict:30/03/2005
Company names or state enterprises:Total SA from France
Chevron Polska Energy Resources Sp. z o.o. from United States of America
Petroleum Authority of Thailand Exploration & Production (PTTEP) from Thailand
Motamma Gas Transportation Company (MGTC) (MGTC) from Myanmar - funding
Taninthayi Pipeline Company (TPC) (TPC) from Myanmar - funding
Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) (MOGE) from Myanmar
PETRONAS from Malaysia
JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corp from Japan
Andaman Transportation Limited (ATL) (ATL) from Myanmar - funding
The Biodiversity Consultancy from United Kingdom - independent consultant for project review
Relevant government actors:Nature, 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)
Ministry of Energy
and others
International and Finance InstitutionsWildlife Conservation Society (WCS) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Conservation 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
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Karen, Dawei and Mon ethnic communities
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage)
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Other Environmental impacts
Other Environmental impactsPotential biodiversity loss due to loss of indigenous land use practices that are relevant for biodiversity (see 3,5)
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Violations of human rights, Increase in violence and crime
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
Strengthening of participation
Proposal and development of alternatives:Instead of the current centralized conservation model that fails to protect the rights of indigenous, the groups call for conservation alternatives led by indigenous communities themselves: “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 an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The conservation area was established excluding and dispossessing customary and indigenous communities, as well as internally displaced people.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

2012 Vacant, Fallow and Virgin Lands Management 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]

2012 Environmental Conservation Law
[click to view]

2015 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Procedure
[click to view]

1992 Forest Law
[click to view]

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

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

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

[2] Pollard, E. H. B., Soe Win Hlaing& Pilgrim, J. D. (2014) Review of the Taninthayi Nature Reserve Project as a conservation model in Myanmar. Unpublished report of The Biodiversity Consultancy, Cambridge, England.
[click to view]

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

[5] 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]

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

[4] Mongabay article by Katie Arnold, 23 September 2016 "‘We are revolutionaries’: Villagers fight to protect Myanmar’s forests" (accessed online 23.05.2018).
[click to view]

[6] Government webpage, Tanintharyi Nature Reserve. (accessed online 22.05.2018)
[click to view]

Wikipedia on the Tanintharyi Nature Reserve
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EJatlas Southeast Asia Team ("at"
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:3465
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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