MYANMAR: Timber Is Main Livelihood, The Ban Leads to ‘Illegal Logging’

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Myanmar government feels, the ban of timber logging will lead to worst affect of forest conservation because it is main livelihood of countrymen and if there is ban, it leads to ‘illegal logging’. The government clearly indicates, the harvesting will not be stopped in future, and government will continue to provide teak and Gurjan logs to millers located in Myanmar. It also indicates that Indian plywood industry will continuously receive sufficient quantity of Gurjan face veneer, teak flitches and sawn wood in future.

The Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation has been quoted as saying during the quarterly meeting of the Ministry that an indirect effect of the logging ban has been a rise in illegal harvesting since over 80% of the population depend on the forest for their livelihood. The Minister said that as long as there is a logging ban there will be so-called ‘illegal logging’ (by rural communities to support their lives) and he said the legal export of logs can support the state income. This remark by the Minister is interpreted by analysts that Myanmar will continue harvesting to meet domestic requirements and to support exports but that the volumes will be strictly controlled. Logging ban has impacted domestic availability of sawn wood.

The Myanma Timber Enterprise (MTE) harvesting plan for 2019-20 provides for the production of about 5,000 tons of teak and 28,5000 tons of other hardwoods. Some 3,000 tons of teak will come from the Shah State with most of the balance from the Sagaing Region, Chin State and Magwe Division. In addition, teak will be harvested from mature plantations (30 years and above). It is understood that the mature teak plantations are considered ‘natural forest’ as the quality of the timber is considered equal to that from the natural forest. Myanmar is believed to have exported about 80,000 tons of timber to as many as forty countries in the year 2018-19 with teak accounting for around 35% of the total.

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