The Dawna Tenasserim Landscape (DTL) straddling the Myanmar-Thai border has some of the largest remaining areas of contiguous tropical moist and deciduous forests in Southeast Asia. Over 83% of the landscape is still forested and it harbors exceptional biodiversity of globally important populations, including tigers and Asian elephants. Embedded within the DTL is the Western Forest Complex (WEFCOM) in Thailand, which is Southeast Asia’s most extensive protected area network at over 18,000km2. In addition, the DTL also includes other protected areas in Thailand as well as proposed protected areas in Myanmar. Together, these existing and proposed protected areas in Thailand and Myanmar cover 36% of the landscape. However, the remaining DTL landscape surrounding these protected areas offer tremendous opportunities to conserve the biodiversity of the region through landscape and transboundary approaches.
The DTL is recognized within WWF as one of five priority landscapes worldwide. This underlines the global importance of the landscape and the urgency to conserve it. The 178,896 km2 DTL represents the Kayah Karen and Tenasserim Moist Forests Global 200 ecoregion, which are a suite of ecoregions that represent the Earth’s most biologically significant areas for biodiversity conservation.
The intact ecosystems of the DTL provide multiple ecosystem services that support both natural and human communities. These include the provisioning of water, forest products that support subsistence and livelihoods of local communities, nutrient cycling, crop pollination, and carbon sequestration functions among others. The forests are also central to the identity and spiritual values of indigenous communities living within the DTL.