YANGON, MYANMAR (9 AUGUST, 2017). To mark the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN) and the Kawthoolei Forestry Department (KFD) of the Karen National Union (KNU) are releasing a new documentary film about the Kheshorter Forest, an exceptional example of Indigenous forest conservation in Karen State, Burma.
The Kheshorter Forest is a pristine ecological, social and spiritual sanctuary for Indigenous Karen communities that has existed for many generations. The forest is located in western Mutraw (Papun) District and eastern Klerlweehtoo (Nyaunglaybin) District of Kawthoolei in Burma. The Kheshorter forest is under the collective governance, protection, and management of 15 villages and covers a total area of 14,606 acres. Much of this is primary mountainous forest and is home to numerous rare and endangered species, including tigers and Hoolock Gibbons. This area also holds immense mythical and historical significance for the local Karen Indigenous people.
The 26 – minute documentary explores Indigenous Karen people’s knowledge, wisdom, and practices of sustainable conservation of their forest and natural resources that they have depended on for their cultural identity, health, livelihoods, and overall well-being for generations.
Over 200 species of medicinal plants exist in the Kheshorter Forest. “If our forest is destroyed, we will not have herbal medicinal plants anymore…the community’s health will be negatively impacted,” said Naw Paw Lay Lay, a local teacher and herbalist.
The benefits of Kheshorter Forest extend far beyond Kawthoolei. As community elder Saw Oh Moo says, “our actions for forest and wildlife conservation and protection also have positive impacts on the world, which is affected by the circumstances of climate change and global warming.”
Since the peace process and political reforms undertaken in Myanmar, massive economic developments have begun in the forested, resource-rich territories of Indigenous Karen peoples without their free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). Despite the challenges, local indigenous communities are collectively responding to the threats by establishing community forests. A community forest is jointly managed by the local community and the KNU’s Forestry Department. “Cooperation and collaboration with the local community is crucial; to strengthen local community participation and collaboration in forestry activities for the long-term is important,” said P’doh Mahn Ba Tun, head of KFD.
P’doh Mahn Ba Tun (Karen and Burmese): +66 (0) 979 408 152 (Thai); +95 977 631 9899 (Myanmar)
Saw Alex Htoo (Karen, Burmese and English): +668 967 656 615 (Thai); +95 976 177 0115 (Myanmar)
Download the press release in English HERE.
သတင္းထုတ္ျပန္ခ်က္ ျမန္မာဘာသာကုိ ဤေနရာတြင္ ရယူႏုိင္သည္။
သတင္းထုတ္ျပန္ခ်က္ စေကာကရင္ ဘာသာကုိ ဤေနရာတြင္ ရယူႏုိင္သည္။