Over the years I have sometimes mentioned the social and economic chaos that occurs in certain parts of mainland Southeast Asia after the flowering of bamboo forests. Apocalyptic rat plagues can descend on villages, particularly in northeast India and western Burma, destroying lives and livelihoods as they go.
Until now there have only been scraps of information about the ecological and social aspects of this cyclical “rat problem”. With that in mind, I am very pleased to announce that Edith Mirante‘s Project Maje has just released a comprehensive report titled “Rats and Kyats: Bamboo Flowering Causes a Hunger Belt in Chin State, Burma”. It consolidates details about the looming crisis from both the Indian and Burmese sides of the border.
This report is a unique resource for anyone hoping to better understand the rats of these borderlands. And for the many New Mandala readers interested, more generally, in the intersection of environmental, economic and political issues in the region it is also definitely worth a close read.