Assessing ecosystem service provision under climate change to support conservation and development planning in Myanmar

Mandle, Lisa; Wolny, Stacie; Bhagabati, Nirmal; Helsingen, Hanna; Hamel, Perrine; Bartlett, Ryan; Dixon, Adam; Horton, Radley M.; Lesk, Corey Samuel; Manley, Danielle S.; De Mel, Jeevani Manishka; Bader, Daniel A.; Myint, Sai Nay Won; Myint, Win; Mon, Myat Su

Inclusion of ecosystem services (ES) information into national-scale development and climate adaptation planning has yet to become common practice, despite demand from decision makers. Identifying where ES originate and to whom the benefits flow–under current and future climate conditions–is especially critical in rapidly developing countries, where the risk of ES loss is high. Here, using Myanmar as a case study, we assess where and how ecosystems provide key benefits to the country’s people and infrastructure. We model the supply of and demand for sediment retention, dry-season baseflows, flood risk reduction and coastal storm protection from multiple beneficiaries. We find that locations currently providing the greatest amount of services are likely to remain important under the range of climate conditions considered, demonstrating their importance in planning for climate resilience. Overlap between priority areas for ES provision and biodiversity conservation is higher than expected by chance overall, but the areas important for multiple ES are underrepresented in currently designated protected areas and Key Biodiversity Areas. Our results are contributing to development planning in Myanmar, and our approach could be extended to other contexts where there is demand for national-scale natural capital information to shape development plans and policies.

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