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May 31, 2016

Myanmar to stop teak wood production

Myanmar to stop teak wood production

Myanmar will stop teak wood production and reduce logging of hardwood this year due to severe deforestation, official media reported this month, as quoted  by Chinese media agency Xinhua. The number of teak trees in Myanmar has gradually declined due to illegal logging.

The rate of forest coverage in Myanmar has decreased to 45 percent in 2015 from over 57 percent in 1990, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.

The ministry is planning to replant teak in Bago mountain ranges in a bid to protect natural resources.

In July last year,  over 150 Chinese nationals were sentenced by a court in Myanmar for violating the law against destroying public properties last week.

The Myitkyina district court in Kachin state sentenced 152, out of 155 arrested Chinese loggers, to life in prison under a 1963 law which punishes for jail terms of 10 years to life for anyone who steals or misuses or abuses public property.

Rising demand for luxury reproduction of Qing and Ming dynasty furniture, and luxury wood flooring has increased pressure on rosewood and teak forests in Myanmar. In the past, Chinese caught up in illegal logging activities in Myanmar were usually allowed to return home. However, since January 2015 -when the 155 were arrested- it seems that the authorities have intensified their raids against illegal loggers.

In recent years, Myanmar has adopted several measures to stop illegal wood trade, including a complete ban on any exports of raw wood in April 2014. Moreover, 134 Chinese and 23,000 Myanmar nationals along with more than 140,000 tons of illegal timber, weapons, 3500 trucks and ancillary equipment were seized between April 2011 and November 2014, according to government data.

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