YANGON, Myanmar (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – It is still home to some of the most pristine forests in Southeast Asia. But forest experts warn that Myanmar is fast losing its woodlands due to a combination of commercial logging, agricultural expansion and firewood harvesting. According to the UN-REDD Programme, at least half of Myammar’s land of 667,000 square kilometres is still covered in forest. But the country also has suffered an alarmingly high rate of deforestation. The UN–REDD Programme estimates that in the 15 years between 1990 and 2005, the country lost 18 percent of its forests, and the deforestation rate may have since increased.The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), looking at a somewhat longer period, estimates that Myanmar lost more than half of its dense forest cover between 1990 and 2010, with the area covered by forest falling from 45 percent to around 20 percent. http://www.trust.org/item/20140326124321-kpqdz/?source=hptop
New research by the Colombo based economic think-tank, the Institute of Policy Studies says that traditional rice varieties that went out favor in the last 60 years with the advent of hybrids, are much more reseilient than their successors. My story for the Thomson Reuters Foundation http://www.trust.org/item/20131010112839-bhdna/?source=hptop
Millions affected, tens of thousands displaced, damages in billions of dollars – Sri Lanka is facing the brunt of changing climate cycles. Extreme weather events are becoming ordinary, but still authorities are not geared to tackle them and make sure the affected are not left helpless. There is always the chance that the victims could be in for double jeopardy, as 2012 showed. http://www.irinnews.org/Report/98008/Beating-wild-weather-in-Sri-Lanka
As Asia’s mega cities grow and grow, so does the traffic. In the Sri Lankan capital commuters set aside 3hrs to travel 10km into the city and back. But experts say that more and more are opting for private commute if they can afford, because public transport is unsafe, unreliable and sometimes as one commuter told me is akin to travelling in a public restroom. The traffic is not only a drain on energy, but a major emission factor.