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Thailand

Natural disasters and more severe drought brought on by climate change should be one of the biggest concerns for Thailand in 2016, academics said. 

"With the weather pattern shifting more than before, seasons and weather will become more unpredictable. This is due to climate change, which will most certainly have the worst effect on our food production as it relies heavily on weather," Tara Buakamsri, Greenpeace Southeast Asia's campaign director, said.

Read more: Severe drought could be the biggest concern for this year

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An elephant pulls a teak log in a logging cap in Pinlebu township, Sagaing, northern Myanmar, in this picture taken March 6, 2014. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

BANGKOK, July 14 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Asia has a unique opportunity to fight climate change and lift many more people out of poverty if it invests more in the communities living in its forests, experts said.

More than 450 million people in the region rely on forests for income and food, but forest dwellers often struggle to make a living as rural poverty, deforestation and climate change threaten their livelihoods.

“If we truly want to sustain Asia’s forests, we need to address inequality and poverty by investing in people living in the forests,” said Tint Lwin Thaung, executive director of RECOFTC, which promotes community forestry in Asia.

Read more: To sustain its forests, Asia needs to invest in local people – experts

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Phra Somnuek Athipanyo, the abbot of Wat Khun Samut, a Buddhist temple on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand some 30km south of Bangkok, patrols the parapet inspecting his temple's defenses against the sea. ST PHOTO: NIRMAL GHOSH

Every year, from Vietnam to Bangladesh, big chunks of the shoreline are lost to the sea; damage and adaptation costs could be significant.

Just off the northern shores of the Gulf of Thailand sits a stark reminder of where many parts of Asia, and millions of residents, won't be in a matter of decades.

Read more: Retreating coastlines

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