Drs. Krishna Vadrevu and Chris Justice organized a regional meeting on Land Use in Yangon, Myanmar (January 12-18, 2016) with support from the NASA Land Cover Land Use Change (LCLUC) Program, the global change SysTem for Analysis, Research and Training (START), the international Global Observation for Forest and Land Cover Dynamics (GOFC-GOLD) Program. 150 participants from 12 different countries attended the meeting including Department members, Matt Hansen, Tatiana Loboda, Chengquan Huang, Evan Ellicott, Demian Rybock and Sumalika Biswas to strengthen their research collaborations within the region. The purpose of the international meeting was to provide a forum to discuss LCLUC and its impacts, with a regional focus on South and Southeast Asia.
The program included LCLUC field trip to Bago, a small city located 50-miles north-east of Yangon. Forty five international participants attended the field trip. In addition, the program also included two days of training for 60 local scientists on the use of remote sensing and geospatial technologies for monitoring agriculture, urban areas and forests. In Myanmar, population growth together with rapid economic development is causing immense pressure to convert land from forest to agriculture and from agricultural areas to residential and urban uses with significant impact on ecosystem services. Increased LCLUC in the region is disrupting and perturbing forest resources, biodiversity, regional climate, biogeochemical cycles, water resources and other ecosystem services and developing appropriate and effective land use policy is key to the sustainable development of the countries in the region. The meeting was endorsed by the President of Myanmar, with guidance from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Forests (MOECAF) and was hosted by the Department of Geography colleagues at the University of Yangon, Myanmar.