Logging ban planned by next April, says minister

The government plans to introduce a total ban on logging throughout Myanmar this fiscal year, the Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation, U Ohn Win, said last week.

The minister announced the planned ban in the Amyotha Hluttaw on June 2, the state-controlled Global New Light of Myanmar reported.

The apparent decision to introduce the ban by March 31 next year followed unconfirmed reports that it was to take effect from May 31 that had led to a surge in logging in some parts of the country.

Ohn Win said state-owned Myanma Timber Enterprise would be responsible for protecting the country’s remaining forests.

As part of the effort to prevent deforestation and forest degradation, he was also quoted as saying that teak extraction was due to end in areas where there was no plan to replace the trees by a process known as generational wood harvesting.

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An assessment of the world’s forests published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in September 2015 said forest cover in Myanmar had declined from 65 percent in 2000 to 45 percent in 2010.

Since 2010, Myanmar had lost more than 546,000 hectares (about 1.3 million acres) a year of forest cover, the FAO said.

Myanmar had the world’s third-highest forest destruction rate, after Brazil and Indonesia, the assessment said.

The move to prohibit all logging follows a ban on the export of raw logs that took effect on April 1, 2014.

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