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Local Perspectives on Ecosystem Service Trade-Offs in a Forest Frontier Landscape in Myanmar

BFH-HAFL—School for Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, Bern University of Applied Sciences, Länggasse 85, 3052 Zollikofen, Switzerland
GIUB—Institute of Geography, University of Bern, Hallerstrasse 12, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
CDE—Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern, Mittelstrasse 43, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
ECCSI—Environmental Care and Community Security Institute, Yangon 11011, Myanmar
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 February 2019 / Revised: 7 March 2019 / Accepted: 8 March 2019 / Published: 12 March 2019
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Extensive land use changes in forest frontier landscapes are leading to trade-offs in the supply of ecosystem services (ES) with, in many cases, as yet unknown effects on human well-being. In the Tanintharyi Region of Myanmar, a forest frontier landscape facing oil palm and rubber expansion, little is known about local perspectives on ES and the direct impact of trade-offs from land use change. This study assessed the trade-offs experienced with respect to 10 locally important ES from land user perspectives using social valuation techniques. The results show that while intact forests provide the most highly valued ES bundle, the conversion to rubber plantations entails fewer negative trade-offs than that to oil palm. Rubber plantations offer income, fuelwood, a good microclimate, and even new cultural identities. By contrast, oil palm concessions have caused environmental pollution, and, most decisively, have restricted local people’s access to the respective lands. The ES water flow regulation is seen as the most critical if more forest is converted; other ES, such as non-timber forest products, can be more easily substituted. We conclude that, from local perspectives, the impact of ES trade-offs highly depends on access to land and opportunities to adapt to change. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecosystem service; trade-offs; adaptation; social valuation; frontier landscape; Myanmar ecosystem service; trade-offs; adaptation; social valuation; frontier landscape; Myanmar

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Feurer, M.; Heinimann, A.; Schneider, F.; Jurt, C.; Myint, W.; Zaehringer, J.G. Local Perspectives on Ecosystem Service Trade-Offs in a Forest Frontier Landscape in Myanmar. Land 2019, 8, 45.

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