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Myanmar to ban logging until 2017

The new law aims to stop illegal logging in the country. The measure will safeguard teak for 10 years.

This is a turning point for the Asian country, the most threatened by illegal deforestation after Brazil and Indonesia. The Government of Myanmar decided to ban logging operations for one harvesting season, so until March 2017, to reduce its loss of forest cover. And that’s not all. In the Pegu Yoma region teak logging has been banned for as long as a decade.

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Huge fires have reduced the forest cover in the country © Thierry Falise / Getty Images

A breath of oxygen for Myanmar’s forests, which, since 2010, have shrunk by more than 546,000 hectares on average each year, about 5% of the country’s forest cover.

Myanmar to stop deforestation

The stockpile collected over the years, which will grant access to timber at a national and international level for three years, will be managed by the government-controlled Myanmar Timber Enterprise.

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Protecting the forests mean protecting biodiversity © FARJANA KHAN GODHULY / Getty Images

“Myanmar’s timber trade has been causing serious problems for decades, promoting armed conflicts in the regions where ethnic minorities live. A reform was extremely necessary to make the forestry sector environmentally and economically sustainable”, Director of Forest Trends’ Forest Policy Kerstin Canby said. “This moratorium could be a make-shift measure if it was used to give the national Government time to put in place the necessary institutional reforms”.

The fight against corruption

“This is a decision that demonstrates clear intent to tackle corruption within the forestry sector by Myanmar’s National League for Democracy-led Government, which only came to power in March”, stated Faith Doherty of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). “Of course, there is no one-policy solution to the problem and much work remains to be done, but this is a hugely encouraging and an optimistic place to start”.

 

Featured image: Ruben Salgado Escudero / Getty Images

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