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Home > Main Library > Environment > The environment of Burma/Myanmar > Human activity in the environment of Burma/Myanmar > Threats to the environment of Burma/Myanmar > Militarisation

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Individual Documents

Title: Diversity Degraded - Vulnerability of Cultural and Natural Diversity in Northern Karen State, Burma
Date of publication: December 2005
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "In traditional Karen society, knowledge and culture are closely linked to the natural environment. This report examines the effects of the longstanding civil war on Karen communities' cultural and natural environment with specific focus on the diversity of cultivated and collected plant species. The information for this case study is based on a survey done in an ethnic Karen village in Mu Traw District, Northern Karen State, Burma. The case study provides a general overview of the community with a detailed look at the local knowledge-based farming systems. The traditional Karen rotational farming system is described in detail including selection of land and crops to be cultivated, the seasonal calendar, techniques of seed conservation and planting, together with spiritual beliefs that are connected to the agricultural practices. The report also outlines the importance of non timber forest products (NTFP) in food security and in women's traditional work. The results of this case study clearly shows that the civil war, which has been raging for almost sixty years between the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and the Karen National Union (KNU), is the primary reason for the loss of both traditional culture and biodiversity in Karen State. The fighting has caused tremendous human rights abuses imposed by the Burmese military regime who have adapted the strategy of targeting civilians in order to gain control over the ethnic insurgents. The local people have been relocated or forced to live as Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in the forest, far from their former villages and farmlands. This has resulted in massive population influxes into formerly uninhabited forest areas and has thereby led to the loss and degradation of forests and biological diversity. Relocation into areas less suitable for farming and the unsettled life of IDPs caught in conflict areas have disrupted the traditional agricultural practices. As a result, the food security of local Karen communities is threatened because many traditional seed varieties and wild edible plant species have been lost. The culture of Karen society also suffers because of its close connections and relationships to the environment and agricultural practices. Many aspects of Karen culture and local knowledge have already been lost."
Language: English, Karen
Source/publisher: Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN)
Format/size: pdf (2.6MB-OBL version-English; 6.38 - Karen)
Alternate URLs: http://www.kesan.asia/index.php/publication-and-media/reports/finish/4-reports/31-diversity-degrade...
Date of entry/update: 19 November 2009

Title: Adrift in Troubled Times -- Recent Accounts of Human Rights Abuse in the Shan State (Burma)
Date of publication: June 1987
Description/subject: Introduction, interviews, maps and photos, including of crops sprayed with the defoliant 2,4-D (an Agent Orange ingredient) supplied to the Burmese military by the US Government.
Language: English
Source/publisher: Project Maje
Format/size: pdf (1.30MB)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003