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An especially sanguine view of the Amazon jungle in Peru on Oct. 12, 2018. Kjell Eson / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Genevieve Belmaker and Joseph Charpentier

Throughout 2018, forests continued to be threatened and destroyed. From the Amazon, to the Congo Basin, to the Mekong Delta and scores of places in between—journalists reporting for Mongabay filed hundreds of stories about the world's forests.

Although the significance of any one story is difficult to gauge in the short-term, several Mongabay reports from 2018 stood out. These pieces dealt with illegal timber trafficking, advances in technology-based environmental protections and human rights protections for the people doing environment-defense work—formal and informal.

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Dried ground of the Swar Chaung dam after water level decreased from the spillway collapse. YE AUNG THU / AFP / Getty Images

A dam collapsed in Myanmar's central Bago region Wednesday following heavy monsoon rains, displacing tens of thousands and killing at least four, as AFP reported that ministry officials confirmed Friday.

"According to the information we got as of this morning, four people were killed and three went missing during the floods," Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement director Phyu Lei Lei Tun said, according to AFP.

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Houses submerged by floods in Myanmar on July 28,. SAW KYAW SAN OO / AFP / Getty Images

Eleven people have died and more than 119,000 have been forced to flee as heavy monsoon rains beginning last week caused significant flooding in Myanmar, government officials told Reuters on Monday.

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Miners have unearthed the world's most valuable chunk of jade stone in Burma, the southeast Asian country also known as Myanmar.

Local politician U Tint Soe stand with the jade rock.SWNS.com

Worth an estimated $174.6 million, the massive 200-ton stone measures about 14 feet high and 19 feet long, the BBC reported. It's size is second to the carved statue at the Jade Buddha Palace in China which weighs 286 tons, according to the Daily Mail.

"We thought we had won the lottery," miner Sao Min told the Daily Mail. "But this belongs to the country. It is in honor of our leaders."

The term jade can refer to two different metamorphic rocks: nephrite and jadeite. This stone is believed to be jadeite, which is worth significantly more. Nearly all of the world's finest jadeite comes from Myanmar and makes up nearly half of the country's gross domestic product.

"I assume that it is a present for the fate for our citizens, the government and our party as it was discovered in the time of our government. It's a very good sign for us," local politician U Tint Soe told the Daily Mail.

The stone will reportedly head to China where it will be used to make jewelry and statues for homes.

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