Hanoi, Vietnam -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/17/2013 -- Whilst reports coming in state that logging is at last decreasing in the Shan state of Myanmar, the country is not without its problems regarding forestry. These reports are coming in at the same time that the army are reporting that they have been clamping down on illegal logging activities. The forestry department have been issuing every house in Kywebwe town, with three teak saplings in the hope that they can win over the hearts and minds of the population and get them involved in Afforestation. Experts however are not sure if much or any at all of the good work is being seen at ground level.
Much of Myanmar’s foreign trade is dependant upon timber and wood exports. It is imperative that the country adopts the kind of measures recently taken by Thailand. Thailand has instigated a fifty year plan in order to maintain and increase the scale of its forests. All logging is currently banned in the Kingdom. The trade of teak has been successfully banned for thirty years there.
In Myanmar the teak forests have been denuded, as legal and illegal deforestation has completely destroyed the habitat, leaving the hillsides barren. Sadly, in the areas by the border, people only have to look across the boundary lines, to see healthy teak forests flourishing in Thailand. The schemes have worked in Thailand mainly because the government have been serious about the project, since they started. Local communities are compensated for not cutting down trees. Even the branches are protected. The Thai authorities have encouraged people to learn about conservation and forestry. They have provided excellent training and equipment to help them develop their forests. The teak plantations are now capable of being managed in a professional and sustainable manner.
According to surveys in Myanmar, in the same time-frame, the country has lost a staggering 198,000 square miles of forestry. This represents 25% of the entire forest within the country. In the Bago area, all teak forest has been completely destroyed. Even in Shan state, traditionally, one of the most important teak forest areas of the country, its forests have gone from 150,000 square miles to just 45,000.
Myanmar needs to act immediately to reverse this trend. It has the perfect climate for teak growing. It is tragic that a complete lack of foresight has seen this beautiful landscape devastated with such complete and permanent force. At least now the government is aware and seems keen to act. They need to educate the public in the importance to the future growth of this once secretive country.
The whole of Southeast Asia has, in recent years, been happy to adopt more ecologically sound systems in order to sustain the regions natural resources. It seems that the political will is there in Myanmar. What is needed now is a concrete commitment from the people as well.
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