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What in the forest's name is going on in Burma?

18 July, 2011 - Dan Hammer

The rate of forest clearing activity in Burma (Myanmar) has been increasing steadily in recent years. Check out the time-series graph below, which display both the monthly forest clearing rate and rainfall between January 2006 and December 2010. The aggregate FORMA data are presented a unitless index, for now, because the measurement of absolute levels of clearing require much more validation -- which we are currently working on. But we can track trends in clearing activity with confidence -- and that's what's shown below.

Most of the clearing activity in Burma seems to be within the coastal states of Irrawaddy and Rakhine. And the clearing activity is uncommonly seasonal. What is driving this deforestation? Mining? Agriculture?

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