Sustainable Inle Lake Ecoregion Development Linking Cultural Identity of in Thacommunity Responding to Deforestation on Upland Catchment
The Inle Lake ecoregion in Myanmar, one of the fresh water ecoregions in the Global 200 list of ecoregions identified by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), is facing impacts of sedimentation from upland catchments. Sediment loads and soil sediment characteristics from deforestation of Kalaw catchment impacted plant nutrients in the Inle Lake aquatic ecosystems where was well recognized for harmony between Intha livelihoods and natural production of littoral and pelagic zones of the lake. This paper aimed to assess effect of soil sediment changes both loads and quality due to deforestation on upland catchment on the practices of floating vegetation which is a cultural identity of Intha and to propose criteria for ecoregion development concerning sustainable floating vegetation yields for Intha communities. The soil sediment loads to the Lake’s literal zone due to forest degradation was 80,584 tons per year and changes of its characteristics and larger quantity were found affected to process of floating vegetation and improvement floating substrate by using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. All respondents (n=282) agreed their concerns on the effects that the adverse impacts from the changes of soil sediment negatively resulted in burdens for their sustainable livelihoods. Intha’s socio-economic development is below national level of human development by comparing with global standards: Human Development Index (HDI) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Regarding the ecosystem management excluding the livelihoods of vulnerable Intha community in the Lake, the entire ecological products focusing on the changes of soil sediments eroded from the forest degraded catchment caused the impact on their cultural identity, especially the process of floating vegetation. The results were evidence to support the improvement of ecoregion to include the Intha livelihoods as a criterion for the Inle aquatic ecoregion for the sustainable management.
Keywords - Sedimentation, Deforestation, Intha Livelihoods, Floating Vegetation, Inlelake