Tian Lin, 5th year IDS Co-op student, won 2nd place at this year's UTSC Undergraduate Research Forum.
The award was based on her IDS thesis research entitled A Community Forestry Approach to Climate Change Adaptation: Examples from the Dry Zone of Myanmar.
Climate change is disproportionately having negative impacts on rural communities in resource-dependent countries, including Myanmar. Many of the local residents who are affected by climate change do not always have the necessary tools or knowledge to adapt to climate change. Since 1995, the government of Myanmar has been supporting the development of community forestry (CF) as a way to address deforestation and forest degradation, and rural poverty. In recent years, the government has recognized the potential role of CF in building climate-resilient communities through the National Adaptation Programme of Action.
Globally, few studies have examined the role of CF in climate change adaptation, resulting in a significant research gap. Myanmar is one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change and is highly dependent on agriculture for the national economy, which makes this country a suitable research location. By using a sustainable livelihood assets framework to measure adaptive capacity, my research examines the contribution of CF to climate change adaptation in the dry zone of Myanmar.
My research suggests that CF offers a critical contribution to adaptation in Myanmar, but faces several operational challenges. While CF provides a platform for vulnerable groups to increase their knowledge of land rights, transect walks and focus group discussions reveal that overlapping land claims are hindering CF implementation. Tensions between livelihood needs and conservation objectives through CF development highlight areas where land use policy may not always be synchronized. So, while CF increases community engagement in natural resource management, in the absence of tangible benefits to the community, the contribution of CF as an adaptation tool may be limited.
Tian placed 2nd in the tough competition, that included over 40 entries from a wide range of disciplines at UTSC.
Congrats to Tian, very well deserved!