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Home > Main Library > Forests and forest peoples > The forests and forest peoples of Burma/Myanmar > Human activity in the forests of Burma/Myanmar > Timber trade

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Timber trade

Individual Documents

Title: Chinese firms are still stealing Myanmar’s forests
Date of publication: 19 September 2015
Description/subject: "WHEN soldiers in Myanmar raided a huge illegal logging site in Kachin, a war-torn northern state, they swooped upon a thousand ill-paid labourers imported from neighbouring Yunnan, a province in China. Some of the Chinese managed to flee into the jungle, surviving for days without food and water before escaping across the border. The unluckiest—more than 150 of them—were arrested and prosecuted. China barked at Myanmar in July, when a court in Kachin state handed most of them life sentences. They were soon pardoned and deported, but only after having spent six months in custody."
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Economist"
Format/size: pdf (130K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/The-Economist-2015-09-19-Chinese_firms_are_still_stealing_Myanma...
Date of entry/update: 22 September 2015


Title: ORGANISED CHAOS - The illicit overland timber trade between Myanmar and China (plus video)
Date of publication: 17 September 2015
Description/subject: STATE OF MYANMAR’S FORESTS... BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MYANMAR-CHINA... OVERLAND TIMBER TRADE... EIA INVESTIGATIONS... CHINA’S ROLE....."For at least two decades, timber extracted from Myanmar’s precious frontier forests in highly destructive logging operations has been flowing into China unhindered. It is an illicit business worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year, making it one of the single largest bilateral flows of illegal timber in the world. From the outside looking in, the cross-border trade appears chaotic and complex. Most of the timber entering Yunnan is either cut or transported through Kachin State, a zone of conflict between ethnic political groups and the Myanmar Government and its military. Here, all sides to varying degrees profit from the logging and timber trade, from the award of rights to Chinese businesses to log whole mountains, often paid in gold bars, to levying fees at multiple checkpoints to allow trucks carrying logs to pass. While Kachin and Yunnan lie at the heart of trade, it reaches far wider. Logs shipped across the border are increasingly sourced from further inside Myanmar, such as Sagaing Division, and end up supplying factories in south and east China. Yet field research conducted by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) reveals that beneath the apparent chaos lies an intricate and structured supply chain within which different players have a defined function and collude to ensure the logs keep flowing. Key nodes in the chain involve well-connected intermediaries who secure logging rights for resale, cooperative groups of business people who monopolise the trade at certain crossing points, and logistics companies on the China side of the border which effectively legalise the timber by clearing it through customs and paying tax. The peak year for the illicit trade was 2005, when one million cubic metres (m3) of logs crossed the border. A brief hiatus occurred for a few years afterwards when Chinese authorities clamped down on the trade. But it proved to be short-lived and the scale of the business is once again approaching the peak levels. This trade is illegal under Myanmar law, which mandates that all wood should exit the country via Yangon port, and contravenes the country’s log export ban. It also goes against the stated policy of the Chinese Government to respect the forestry laws of other countries and oppose illegal logging. It is time for both countries to take urgent effective action against the massive illicit timber trade across their joint border. The 155 Chinese loggers have now returned home, but without action to end the trade others will take their place and further conflict, violence and forest destruction will occur..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)
Format/size: html, pdf (1.24K); Adobe Flash - 7 minutes
Alternate URLs: https://eia-international.org/cash-from-chaos-the-illicit-trade-in-timber-from-myanmar-to-china
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/EIA-2015-09-Organised_Chaos.pdf
https://eia-international.org/media-resources/videos?id=138882224
Date of entry/update: 18 September 2015


Title: Blood Teak: How Myanmar's Natural Resources Fuel Ethnic Conflicts
Date of publication: 30 April 2015
Description/subject: "...The re-ignition of conflict should be a reminder that as long as the incentives to control exploitable natural resources and illicit industries are greater than the incentives to create stability, there is little hope for long-term peace in Myanmar. Sustainable progress is possible, but only if the underlying economic structures of minority groups are altered by the diversification of local economies and the government continues opening up. While this is by no means a panacea for the conflict, it may begin to alter the economic circumstances which have facilitated such persistent violence and bring about the conditions which lead to a more enduring peace."
Author/creator: Jay Benson
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Diplomat"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 May 2015


Title: Commercial Agriculture Expansion in Myanmar: Links to Deforestation, Conversion Timber, and Land Conflicts
Date of publication: March 2015
Description/subject: "In Myanmar, as in other countries of the Mekong, it is widely acknowledged that the clearing of forests to make way for the expansion of commercial agricultural fields is increasingly the leading driver of deforestation, alongside legal and illegal logging, and the clearance of forest areas to make way for infrastructure projects such as roads and hydropower dams. While the conversion of forests for agricultural development has been occurring for many decades, it is the unprecedented rate of this conversion that is now so astounding — as well as the fact that the government is encouraging increasing levels of investment for large-scale industrial agricultural expansion when laws and institutions are not yet able to regulate these large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs). National legal frameworks — laws, regulations, and enforcement bodies — will need to be improved so this development occurs in the context of sustainable and legal forest management and local communities are assured that they have secure land use rights and access to these agricultural and forested landscapes for their livelihood needs. Despite national statements purporting to protect Myanmar’s remaining forests, a new set of land and investment laws1 are still facilitating the conversion of forests into private agribusiness concessions. Since Myanmar’s President U Thein Sein took office in March 2011, the new reform-minded government has promoted industrial agricultural development as an attractive sector for both domestic and, increasingly, foreign investment. In the forest sector itself, promising new reforms have been progressing, but so far have focused only on the managed timber estates under the direct control of the Myanmar Forest Department (which have been over-harvested for decades). The remaining natural forests in the country’s resource-rich, ethnic-populated states are still left outside any effective forest management and are thus even more prone to extensive logging and forest conversion. In sum, each year Myanmar has been losing more than 1.15 million acres of forests — some of Southeast Asia’s last remaining (sub-)tropical High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF). Hardwood log exports have been growing by volume, and even more by value, since the new government took office (Figures 1 and 2). Between 2011 and 2013, the volume of timber product exports jumped from about 2.7 to over 3.3 million m3, with values increasing from just over US$ 1 billion to about US$ 1.6 billion. Much of Myanmar’s timber is no longer sourced from historical (over-cut) harvesting areas (government-managed timber estates predominately in the geographic center of the country). Instead, domestic private companies are clear-cutting HCVFs — for agribusiness, mining, and hydropower sites, and special economic zones (SEZs) — and producing Myanmar’s, and some of the world’s, most valuable “conversion timber.” Forest Trends has estimated that conversion timber from these LSLAs now constitutes a significant portion of the Burmese timber being placed on the international market..."
Author/creator: Kevin Woods
Language: English
Source/publisher: Forest Trends
Format/size: pdf (2.7MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/Forest_Trends-2015-03-Conversion_Timber_in_Myanmar-en.pdf
Date of entry/update: 13 March 2015


Title: Analysis of the China-Myanmar Timber Trade (Burmese မန္မာဘာသာ)
Date of publication: December 2014
Description/subject: Abstract: "This policy brief analyzes recent trends in the timber products trade between China and Myanmar, using Chinese customs data from 2000 through 2013. Timber is one of the primary commodities traded between the two countries, providing significant revenue to Myanmar’s central government and ethnic political armed opposition groups, while supplying China with materials to feed its growing wood manufacturing sector. In 2013, timber product exports from Myanmar to China reached an all-time high by both volume and value, with 94% of these exports (by volume) registered by Chinese customs in Kunming, near the Myanmar border. Both countries banned cross-border timber trade in 2006, so these findings suggest high levels of illegality. Representatives from both countries plan to meet in March 2015 to discuss these issues further, and to develop strategies to promote a timber trade that is legal, beneficial to both nations, and sustainable in the long term."
Author/creator: Eve Richer
Language: Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Forest Trends
Format/size: pdf (643K-reduced version; 643K-original)
Date of entry/update: 18 September 2015


Title: Analysis of the China-Myanmar Timber Trade (English)
Date of publication: December 2014
Description/subject: Abstract: "This policy brief analyzes recent trends in the timber products trade between China and Myanmar, using Chinese customs data from 2000 through 2013. Timber is one of the primary commodities traded between the two countries, providing significant revenue to Myanmar’s central government and ethnic political armed opposition groups, while supplying China with materials to feed its growing wood manufacturing sector. In 2013, timber product exports from Myanmar to China reached an all-time high by both volume and value, with 94% of these exports (by volume) registered by Chinese customs in Kunming, near the Myanmar border. Both countries banned cross-border timber trade in 2006, so these findings suggest high levels of illegality. Representatives from both countries plan to meet in March 2015 to discuss these issues further, and to develop strategies to promote a timber trade that is legal, beneficial to both nations, and sustainable in the long term."
Author/creator: Eve Richer
Language: English
Source/publisher: Forest Trends
Format/size: pdf (495K-original; 400K-reduced version)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/Richer-2014-12-Analysis_of_the_China-Myanmar_timber_trade-en-red...
Date of entry/update: 01 May 2015


Title: Analysis of the China-Myanmar Timber Trade 中缅木材贸易分析 中缅木材 贸易 分析 (Chinese)
Date of publication: December 2014
Description/subject: 前言 缅甸是亚太地区重要的木材生产国和出口国,在国际市场上,其出口的 珍贵木材,如柚木和其他硬木 , 也 颇具盛名 。缅甸保有亚洲仅存的几片天然 林,这些森林 不但 维持着当地社区的生计,对该区域的生态系统也至关重 要。在经历了几十 年的军事统治和政治改革后,利益相关者正在讨论缅甸林 业部门的未来 , 如何在发展经济的同时,平衡保护目标?中国与缅甸 接壤 , 并通过贸易和投资对缅甸产生巨大影响。中国的态度,对于缅甸林业部门的 未来有着巨大的影响。 ..... Abstract: "This policy brief analyzes recent trends in the timber products trade between China and Myanmar, using Chinese customs data from 2000 through 2013. Timber is one of the primary commodities traded between the two countries, providing significant revenue to Myanmar’s central government and ethnic political armed opposition groups, while supplying China with materials to feed its growing wood manufacturing sector. In 2013, timber product exports from Myanmar to China reached an all-time high by both volume and value, with 94% of these exports (by volume) registered by Chinese customs in Kunming, near the Myanmar border. Both countries banned cross-border timber trade in 2006, so these findings suggest high levels of illegality. Representatives from both countries plan to meet in March 2015 to discuss these issues further, and to develop strategies to promote a timber trade that is legal, beneficial to both nations, and sustainable in the long term."
Author/creator: Eve Richer
Language: Chinese
Source/publisher: Forest Trends
Format/size: pdf (837K-reduced version; 1.13MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/Richer-2014-12-Analysis_of_the_China-Myanmar_timber_trade-ch-red...
Date of entry/update: 18 September 2015


Title: U.S. Waives Sanctions on Myanmar Timber
Date of publication: 14 August 2014
Description/subject: "...Civil society groups are split over a decision by the U.S. government to waive sanctions on Myanmar’s timber sector for one year. The decision, which went into effect late last month, is being hailed by some as an opportunity for community-led and sustainability initiatives to take root in Myanmar, where lucrative forestry revenues have long been firmly controlled by the military and national elites. The European Union, too, is currently working to normalise its relations with the Myanmarese timber sector. “The concern is that the system that is gaining traction with the international timber industry is to bypass any national systemic forestry reform process.” -- Kevin Woods of Forest Trends Yet others are warning that Washington has taken the decision too soon, before domestic conditions in Myanmar are able to support such a change..."
Author/creator: Carey L. Biron
Language: English
Source/publisher: Inter Press Service (IPS)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 21 August 2014


Title: Myanmar's $6 billion illegal timber trade
Date of publication: 26 March 2014
Description/subject: "New analysis of Burma's forestry and trade data points to a multi-billion dollar illegal logging and exports black hole - indicating widespread criminality and official corruption."...Article based on EIA's "Data Corruption"
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Ecologist"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 22 May 2015


Title: Data Corruption - Exposing the true scale of logging in Burma (Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Date of publication: 25 March 2014
Description/subject: သဵု့သပးခ္ကး အက္ဥး့ခ္ဳပး  ်မနးမာအစို့ရ၏ လတးတေလာ ပဵုႏြိပးထုတး်ပနးလိုကးေသာ လျနးခဲံေသာ ှ၂ႏြစးအတျငး့ သစးလဵု့ထုတးလုပးမႈႏြငံး သစးတငးပို႕မႈ စာရငး့ဇယာ့မ္ာ့၏ ေဖား်ပခ္ကးမြာ ်မနးမာႏိုငးငဵသစးလဵု့ထုတးလုပးမႈႏြငံး ပတးသကး၍မြတးတမး့တငးထာ့ေသာ ကမၻာံကုနးသျယးမႈမ္ာ့ထကး သိသိသာသာပငး ေလ္ာံနညး့ေနေၾကာငး့၇ ်မနးမာႏိုငးငဵအတျငး့ ထိုသစးလဵု့ထုတးလုပးမႈႏြငံး ပတးသကး၍ ဥပေဒခ္ိဳ့ေဖာကးမႈႏြငံး ်ခစာ့မႈမ္ာ့ လႊမး့မို့ေနေၾကာငး့ကုိ သဘာဝပတးဝနး့က္ငး စဵုစမး့စစးေဆ့ေရ့အဖျဲ႕(EIA)၏ သုေသသန်ပဳခ္ကးက ထုတးေဖားလိုကးသညး၈  ဿွွွ-ှ၀ခုႏြစးအတျငး့ သစးလဵု့တငးပို႕မႈႏြငံး ပတးသကးေသာ တရာ့ဝငးထုတး်ပနးသညးံ ပမာဏသညး ်မနးမာႏိုငးငဵသစးလဵု့ထုတးလုပးမႈႏြငံး ပတးသကး၍မြတးတမး့တငးထာ့ေသာ ႏုိငးငဵတကာကုနးသျယးမႈမ္ာ့ အာ့လဵု့၏ ဿ၅ ရာခုိငးႏႈနး့သာလြ္ငးရြိ်ပီ့ ၄ဿ ရာခိုငးႏႈနး့ေသာ သစးတငးပို႕မႈမ္ာ့မြာ တရာ့မဝငး်ဖစးေၾကာငး့ကို ေဖား်ပေနသညး၈  ဿွွှ-ှ၀ခုႏြစးအတျငး့ အစို့ရချငံး်ပဳေသာ တရာ့ဝငးသစးထုတးလုပးမႈ ပမာဏသညး ်မနးမာႏိုငးငဵထဵမြ သစးလဵု့တငးသျငး့မႈႏြငံး ပတးသကး၍ မြတးတမး့တငးထာ့ေသာ ပမာဏ၏ ၂၀ရာခိုငးႏႈနး့သာ ရြိ်ပီ့ ႏိုငးငဵအတျငး့တျငး သစးလဵု့တငးပို႕ေရ့ဦ့တညး်ပဳလုပးေသာ တရာ့မဝငးသစးထုတးလုပးမႈသညး ၁၄ ရာခိုငးႏႈနး့ ရြိေၾကာငး့ေဖား်ပေနသညး၈  ဿွွှ-ှ၀ခုႏြစးအတျငး့ တရာ့ဝငးချငံး်ပဳမထာ့ေသာ၇ မြတးတမး့တငးမထာ့ေသာ သစးလဵု့တငးပို႕မႈပမာဏ သညး ှ၃.၂သနး့ ကုဗမီတာရြိကာ အေမရိကနးေဒၚလာ ၂.၄ ဘီလီယဵတနးဖို့ရြိ၏၈  သဘာဝပတးဝနး့က္ငး စဵုစမး့စစးေဆ့ေရ့အဖျဲ႕(EIA)၏ ေတျ႕ရြိခ္ကးမ္ာ့သညး ်မနးမာအစို့ရ၏ သစးထုတးလုပးမႈဆိုငးရာ အခနး့က႑တျငး စီမဵခနး႕ချဲမႈမ္ာ့ နကးနကးရိႈငး့ရိႈငး့ ပ္ကးကျကးေနသညးကို ေဖား်ပေန၏၈ သစးေတာအရငး့အ်မစးမ္ာ့ကို ထိနး့သိမး့ရနးႏြငံး ဥေရာပသမဂၢ၇ အေမရိကနး၇ ၾသစေၾတ့လ္ာ့ႏြငံး အ်ခာ့ေသာ ႏိုငးငဵမ္ာ့ပါဝငးေသာ ဥပေဒေရ့ရာမ္ာ့ႏြငံး ပတးသကး၍ အထိအခိုကးမခဵသညးံ ပျာ့မ္ာ့လာေသာ တနးဖို့်မငးံေပ့မညးံ ေစ့္ကျကးမ္ာ့တျငး ်မနးမာသစးလဵု့တငးပို႕မႈမ္ာ့ ေရာကးရြိေရ့အတျကး က္ယးက္ယး်ပနး႕်ပနး႕ ်ပဳ်ပငးေ်ပာငး့လဲမႈမ္ာ့ လိုအပးေန၏၈ EXECUTIVE SUMMARY • Research by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) reveals that recently published Government of Myanmar data on log harvests and timber exports during the past 15 years reveals significantly lower than reported global trade in Myanmar logs, suggesting rampant criminality and corruption in the sector. • Official export volumes from 2000 - 13 constitute merely 28 per cent of all recorded international trade in Myanmar logs – suggesting 72 per cent of log shipments were illicit. • Official Government - authorised harvest volumes from 2001 - 13 comprised only 53 per cent of recorded global imports of Myanmar logs, revealing an export - driven illegal logging rate of 47 per cent across the country. • Unauthorised and unrecorded timber exports of 16.5 million cubic metres (m 3 ) of logs from 2000 - 13 were worth US$5.7 billion. • EIA’s findings demonstrate fundamental governance failures in Myanmar’s timber sector. Wide - ranging reform is required to sustain forest resources and enable access to the increasing number of high-value markets sensitive to legality issues, including the EU, US, Australia and others.
Language: Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ
Source/publisher: Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)
Format/size: pdf (628K)
Date of entry/update: 25 March 2014


Title: Data Corruption - Exposing the true scale of logging in Burma (English)
Date of publication: 25 March 2014
Description/subject: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: "• Research by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) reveals that recently published Government of Myanmar data on log harvests and timber exports during the past 15 years reveals significantly lower than reported global trade in Myanmar logs, suggesting rampant criminality and corruption in the sector. • Official export volumes from 2000-13 constitute merely 28 per cent of all recorded international trade in Myanmar logs – suggesting 72 per cent of log shipments were illicit. • Official Government-authorised harvest volumes from 2001-13 comprised only 53 per cent of recorded global imports of Myanmar logs, revealing an export-driven illegal logging rate of 47 per cent across the country. • Unauthorised and unrecorded timber exports of 16.5 million cubic metres (m3) of logs from 2000-13 were worth US$5.7 billion. • EIA’s findings demonstrate fundamental governance failures in Myanmar’s timber sector. Wide-ranging reform is required to sustain forest resources and enable access to the increasing number of high-value markets sensitive to legality issues, including the EU, US, Australia and others."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)
Format/size: pdf (645K)
Date of entry/update: 25 March 2014


Title: EIA ALERT on EUTR NON-COMPLIANT MYANMAR TIMBER SHIPMENTS
Date of publication: December 2013
Description/subject: [EUTR - European Union Timber Regulation]...."Corruption, bribery, and illegality underpin chaotic Myanmar timber production and trade, in both state and non-state controlled areas An EU Timber Trade Federation (ETTF) report by an EUTR Monitoring Organization concludes that current controls do not allow for EUTR compliant trade in Myanmar timber However, since the EUTR came into force in March 2013 more than 8 million dollars of Myanmar timber have been imported into the EU. All of these shipments are likely in breach of the EUTR due diligence obligations, if not also the prohibition EUTR Competent Authorities must monitor compliance of all operators importing from Myanmar, in relation to all individual shipments Despite the lifting of sanctions, EU Operators should desist from placing Myanmar timber on the EU market until it can comply with the EUTR. This will require substantive reforms..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)
Format/size: pdf (634K)
Date of entry/update: 25 March 2014


Title: Tackling Timber Regulations - A Guide for Myanmar
Date of publication: December 2013
Description/subject: Abstract: "Over the past decade, several major timber product consumer countries have put into place new regulations aimed at curtailing the import of illegally sourced wood products. The United States pioneered this development by passing an amendment to the Lacey act in 2008. This move was followed by the EU, which approved the EU Timber Regulation 2010. Subsequently, the Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Act was made official in November 2012. Illegal logging, as defined in these three regulations, is the harvesting of timber in contravention of the laws and regulations of the country of harvest. The main requirements of these regulations can be summarized as follows: 1) There is a ban on placing illegal timber on the market; 2) There is a requirement for due diligence, including calls for importers to: a) Provide access to information about the origin and legality of the material b) Conduct risk assessment of the risk that material is originating from illegal sources; c) Mitigate any significant risks. These three new timber trade laws in Australia and the US have been changing the timber markets, providing challenges to timber exporting countries such as Myanmar. The new laws restrict the trade in illegally harvested timber and place obligations on the importers to these regulated markets. To remain effective in the international timber markets and ensure market access for the export industry, it is important to understand these new regulations and be able to provide timber with the necessary legality assurance. This guide provides an overview of the key aspects of these regulations and offers suggestions for how the Myanmar government and timber industry can improve market access by increasing the level of legal timber assurance. "
Language: English
Source/publisher: Forest Trends
Format/size: pdf (1.1MB-original; 867K-reduced version)
Date of entry/update: 18 September 2015


Title: Timber Trade Flows and Actors in Myanmar - The Political Economy of Myanmar’s Timber Trade (English)
Date of publication: November 2013
Description/subject: Abstract: "This report on Myanmar's political economy of timber trade highlights five different sources and flows of timber destined for export. The purpose is to bring to light the different actors, geographies, and politics embedded within the web of timber flows because each inter-connected stream has its own degree of legality, sustainability, land rights regimes, and ethical sourcing. To date, much of the dialogue on the sourcing of Myanmar timber - particularly the world-famous Burmese teak - has focused on just one of these streams: the government-managed teak forests located in the central plains. However, the other timber sources and actors need to be highlighted, too - and their legality, sustainability, and ethics - as exported timber is an amalgamation of all possible wood sources. The complicated wood trade dynamics outlined in this report need to be made more transparent by the Myanmar government and the domestic private wood sector to provide more clear guidelines for overseas buyers demanding legal, sustainable, and ethical wood sourcing. This, in turn, will provide further impetus for the on-going forest sector reform process in the country."
Author/creator: Kevin Woods
Language: English
Source/publisher: Forest Trends
Format/size: pdf (950K-reduced version; 1.25MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/Woods-2013-Timber_Trade_Flows&Actors_in_Myanmar-en-red.pdf
Date of entry/update: 18 September 2015


Title: Timber Trade Flows and Actors in Myanmar: The Political Economy of Myanmar’s Timber Trade (Burmese မန္မာဘာသာ)
Date of publication: November 2013
Description/subject: Abstract: "This report on Myanmar's political economy of timber trade highlights five different sources and flows of timber destined for export. The purpose is to bring to light the different actors, geographies, and politics embedded within the web of timber flows because each inter-connected stream has its own degree of legality, sustainability, land rights regimes, and ethical sourcing. To date, much of the dialogue on the sourcing of Myanmar timber - particularly the world-famous Burmese teak - has focused on just one of these streams: the government-managed teak forests located in the central plains. However, the other timber sources and actors need to be highlighted, too - and their legality, sustainability, and ethics - as exported timber is an amalgamation of all possible wood sources. The complicated wood trade dynamics outlined in this report need to be made more transparent by the Myanmar government and the domestic private wood sector to provide more clear guidelines for overseas buyers demanding legal, sustainable, and ethical wood sourcing. This, in turn, will provide further impetus for the on-going forest sector reform process in the country."
Author/creator: Kevin Woods
Language: Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Forest Trends
Format/size: pdf (956K-reduced version; 1.1MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/Woods-2013-Timber_Trade_Flows&Actors_in_Myanmar-bu-red.pdf
Date of entry/update: 18 September 2015


Title: APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION - China’s trade in illegal timber (text, video and Burmese press release)
Date of publication: 29 November 2012
Description/subject: This report covers several countries in Asia and Africa....."Myanmar contains some of the most significant natural forests left in the Asia Pacific region, host to an array of biodiversity and vital to the livelihoods of local communities. Forests are estimated to cover 48 per cent of the country’s land. Yet other recent estimates put forest cover at just 24 per cent. These vital forests are disappearing rapidly. Myanmar has one of the worst rates of deforestation on the planet, with 18 per cent of its forests lost between 1990 and 2005. Myanmar’s forest sector is rife with corruption and illegality, leading to over-harvesting and smuggling. Natural teak from Myanmar is especially sought after on the international market for its unique characteristics and availability. Since the late 1990s, neighbouring China has imported large volumes of timber from Myanmar, the bulk of which have been logged and traded illegally. In 1997, China imported 300,000 cubic metres of timber from Myanmar; by 2005 this had risen to 1.6 million cubic metres....In April 2012, EIA investigators travelled to the southern Chinese provinces of Guangdong and Yunnan to examine current dynamics of the illicit cross-border trade in logs from Myanmar, especially Kachin State. The investigation involved monitoring crossing points on the Yunnan-Kachin border, surveying wholesale timber markets to assess the origin of wood supplies, and undercover meetings with Chinese firms trading and processing timber from Myanmar. The investigation revealed continuing transport of logs across the border, despite the 2006 agreements between the two countries to halt such trade. Chinese traders confirmed that as long as taxes are paid at the point of import, logs are allowed in despite a commitment from the Yunnan provincial government to allow in only timber accompanied by documents from the Myanmar authorities attesting to its legal origin. As the authorities dictate that all wood exports must be handled by the Myanmar Timber Enterprise and shipped via Rangoon, logs moving across the land border to Yunnan cannot possibly be legal. Field visits uncovered movement of temperate hardwood timber species from the mountains of Kachin State into central Yunnan via several crossing points, with trade in teak and rosewood centred around the border town of Ruili further south. The contrast in the condition of the forests along the border was striking; while forests in the mountainous region on the Chinese side of the border are relatively intact, with large areas protected in the Gaoligong Nature Reserve, across the border in Kachin the devastation wreaked by logging is clearly visible. Chinese wood traders confirmed that supplies were coming from further inside Kachin, as timber within a hundred kilometres of the border has been logged out, and told how deals are done with insurgent groups to buy up entire mountains for logging. One local community elder in Kachin interviewed by EIA summed up the situation: “Myanmar is China’s supermarket and Kachin State is their 7-11.”..."
Language: English; (Burmese press release)
Source/publisher: Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)
Format/size: pdf (1.42MB), 142K-Burmese press release; Adobe Flash (- 16 minutes, video)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs14/EIA-Appetite_for_Destruction-PR-bu.pdf (Press release, Burmese)
http://vimeo.com/54229395 (video)
http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs14/EIA-Appetite_for_Destruction.pdf
Date of entry/update: 29 November 2012


Title: Forest Certification in Myanmar (Burmese မန္မာဘာသာ)
Date of publication: September 2012
Description/subject: Abstract: "The easing of diplomatic and financial sanctions on Myanmar has sparked western interest in investment and trade opportunities. Interest in the export of world famous “Burmese teak” has led buyers from the United States, Europe, Japan, and Australia to ask questions about whether logs or timber exported out of Myanmar are legal or sustainable, as well as what the prospects are that they can be verified as legal or certified sustainable in the future. This Forest Trends Information Brief provides a summary of the status of initiatives related to forest certification in Myanmar. Myanmar currently does not have any internationally recognized certification standard, such as FSC, although the country has had a long history of scientific forest management and has engaged in several domestic and regional initiatives that could serve as a positive foundation to those seeking to establish certification programs in Myanmar. It is important to note, however, that these existing Myanmar forest management systems have been focused on timber products sourced from officially designated forest production areas, and not timber products emanating from the clearance of forest areas (“conversion timber”) for agriculture or infrastructure (which are now probably the largest source of natural timber in Myanmar). The Information Brief (September 2012) summarizes and updates a chapter in Forest Trends publication “Myanmar: Overview of Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade” written by Kevin Woods and Kerstin Canby with the support of EFI. http://www.forest-trends.org/publication_details.php?publicationID=3159..."
Author/creator: Kerstin Canby
Language: Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ)
Source/publisher: Forest Trends (Information Brief No. 3)
Format/size: pdf (365K-reduced version; 402K-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/FT-2012-09-Forest_Certification_in_Myanmar-bu-red.pdf
Date of entry/update: 18 September 2015


Title: Forest Certification in Myanmar (English)
Date of publication: September 2012
Description/subject: Abstract: "The easing of diplomatic and financial sanctions on Myanmar has sparked western interest in investment and trade opportunities. Interest in the export of world famous “Burmese teak” has led buyers from the United States, Europe, Japan, and Australia to ask questions about whether logs or timber exported out of Myanmar are legal or sustainable, as well as what the prospects are that they can be verified as legal or certified sustainable in the future. This Forest Trends Information Brief provides a summary of the status of initiatives related to forest certification in Myanmar. Myanmar currently does not have any internationally recognized certification standard, such as FSC, although the country has had a long history of scientific forest management and has engaged in several domestic and regional initiatives that could serve as a positive foundation to those seeking to establish certification programs in Myanmar. It is important to note, however, that these existing Myanmar forest management systems have been focused on timber products sourced from officially designated forest production areas, and not timber products emanating from the clearance of forest areas (“conversion timber”) for agriculture or infrastructure (which are now probably the largest source of natural timber in Myanmar). The Information Brief (September 2012) summarizes and updates a chapter in Forest Trends publication “Myanmar: Overview of Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade” written by Kevin Woods and Kerstin Canby with the support of EFI. http://www.forest-trends.org/publication_details.php?publicationID=3159..."
Author/creator: Kerstin Canby
Language: English
Source/publisher: Forest Trends (Information Brief No. 3)
Format/size: pdf (167K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs21/FT-2012-09-Forest_Certification_in_Myanmar-en.pdf
Date of entry/update: 18 September 2015


Title: An Overview of the Market Chain for China's Timber Product Imports from Myanmar
Date of publication: 2005
Description/subject: This article on China's forest trade with Myanmar builds on an earlier study by the same authors: “Navigating the Border: An Analysis of the China-Myanmar Timber Trade” [link]. The analysis in this study moves on to identify priority issues along the market chain of the timber trade from the Yunnan-Myanmar border to Guangdong Province and Shanghai on China’s eastern seaboard. Give the increased intensity of logging in northern Myanmar after the introduction of stringent limits on domestic timber production in China in 1998, the authors argue it is now downstream buyers on China’s eastern seaboard who are driving the timber business along the Yunnan Myanmar border. While the boom in the timber business has provided income generating opportunities for many, from villagers in Myanmar to Chinese migrant businessmen, forests that can be cost-effectively harvested in Myanmar along its border with Yunnan are in increasingly short supply. This entails a need to explore priority areas such as transitioning border residents away from a reliance on the timber industry, assessing and mitigating the cross-border ecological damage from logging in Kachin and Shan States, and developing a more sustainable supply of timber in Yunnan through improving state plantations and collective forest management.
Author/creator: Fredrich Kahrl, Horst Weyerhaeuser, Su Yufang
Language: English
Source/publisher: Forest Trends, Center for International Forestry Research, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
Format/size: pdf (1.05 MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.forest-trends.org/documents/files/doc_152.pdf
http://www.forest-trends.org/publication_details.php?publicationID=152
Date of entry/update: 18 August 2010


Title: A CONFLICT OF INTERESTS: The uncertain future of Burma’s forests
Date of publication: October 2003
Description/subject: A Briefing Document by Global Witness. October 2003... Table of Contents... Recommendations... Introduction... Summary: Natural Resources and Conflict in Burma; SLORC/SPDC-controlled logging; China-Burma relations and logging in Kachin State; Thailand-Burma relations and logging in Karen State... Part One: Background: The Roots of Conflict; Strategic location, topography and natural resources; The Peoples of Burma; Ethnic diversity and politics; British Colonial Rule... Independence and the Perpetuation of Conflict: Conflict following Independence and rise of Ne Win; Burma under the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP); The Four Cuts counter – insurgency campaign; The 1988 uprising and the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC); The 1990 General Election and the drafting of a new Constitution; Recent Developments: The Detention of Aung San Suu Kyi... The Administration of Burma: Where Power Lies: The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC); The Cabinet; The Three Generals; The Tatmadaw; Regional Commanders... Part Two: Logging in Burma:- The Economy: The importance of the timber trade; Involvement of the Army; Bartering; Burma’s Forests; Forest cover, deforestation rates and forest degradation... The Timber Industry in Burma: The Administration of forestry in Burma; Forest Management in Burma, the theory; The Reality of the SPDC-Controlled Timber Trade... Law enforcement: The decline of the Burma Selection System and Institutional Problems; Import – Export Figures; SPDC-controlled logging in Central Burma; The Pegu Yomas; The illegal timber trade in Rangoon; SLORC/SPDC control over logging in ceasefire areas... Ceasefires: Chart of armed ethnic groups. April 2002; Ceasefire groups; How the SLORC/SPDC has used the ceasefires: business and development... Conflict Timber: Logging and the Tatmadaw; Logging as a driver of conflict; Logging companies and conflict on the Thai-Burma border; Controlling ceasefire groups through logging deals... Forced Labour: Forced labour logging... Opium and Logging: Logging and Opium in Kachin State; Logging and Opium in Wa... Conflict on the border: Conflict on the border; Thai-Burmese relations and ‘Resource Diplomacy’; Thais prioritise logging interests over support for ethnic insurgents; The timber business and conflict on the Thai-Burma border; Thai Logging in Karen National Union territory; The end of SLORC logging concessions on the Thai border; The Salween Scandal in Thailand; Recent Logging on the Thai-Burma border... Karen State: The Nature of Conflict in Karen State; The Karen National Union (KNU); The Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA); Logging in Karen State; Logging and Landmines in Karen State; Charcoal Making in Nyaunglebin District... The China-Burma Border: Chinese-Burmese Relations; Chinese-Burmese relations and Natural Resource Colonialism; The impact of logging in China; The impact of China’s logging ban; The timber trade on the Chinese side of the border... Kachin State: The Nature of Conflict in Kachin State; The Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO); Jade and the KIA’s insurgent Economy; Dabak and Mali Hydroelectric Power Projects; The New Democratic Army (Kachin) (NDA(K)); The Kachin Defence Army (KDA); How the ceasefires have affected insurgent groups in Kachin State; HIV/AIDS and Extractive Industries in Kachin State ; Logging in Kachin State; Gold Mining in Kachin State; The N’Mai Hku (Headwaters) Project; Road Building in Kachin State... Wa State: Logging in Wa State; Timber Exports through Wa State; Road building in Wa State; Plantations in Wa State... Conclusion... Appendix I: Forest Policies, Laws and Regulations; National Policy, Laws and Regulations; National Commission on Environmental Affairs; Environmental policy; Forest Policy; Community Forestry; International Environmental Commitments... Appendix II: Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG): Ministerial Declaration... References. [the pdf version contains the text plus maps, photos etc. The Word version contains text and tables only]
Language: English (Thai & Kachin summaries)
Source/publisher: Global Witness
Format/size: pdf (4 files: 1.8MB, 1.4MB, 2.0MB, 2.1MB) 126 pages
Alternate URLs: http://www.globalwitness.org
http://asiantribune.com/news/2003/10/10/conflict-interests-uncertain-future-burmas-forests
Date of entry/update: 20 July 2010


Title: Burma Solid Wood Products Annual 2001
Date of publication: 16 February 2001
Description/subject: Report Highlights: Burma’s official wood exports should remain at around 475,000 cubic meters. The industry in Burma is faced with over logging due to continued unchecked illicit trading in logs...EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Burma remains more than 50 percent forested and has sizeable stands of commercial hard woods due to a sound policy of sustainable forest management that has been in place since British times. While commercial extraction of teak and tropical hardwoods is controlled under Forest Department regulations and monitoring, population growth and the resulting demand for fuel wood and agricultural land are putting pressure on both the hardwood and other forested areas. Illegal logging of hardwoods has and continues to be a problem in border areas, but the largest threat to Burma’s forest resources is encroachment by villagers seeking wood for fuel and land for crops. Accurate and reliable statistics on forest area resources, production, consumption, and trade are somewhat difficult to obtain given the extent of illicit trade and insufficient government resources to adequately monitor the sector. Nevertheless, post forecasts that annual production (based on Burma’s fiscal year of April/March) of teak logs in 2000/01 will continue to be around 475,000 cubic meters. Production of other hardwood logs will be approximately 1.5 million cubic meters. Lumber output over the same period will be about 35,000 cubic meters of teak and 240,000 cubic meters of other hardwoods. Burma’s export trade is dominated by logs. Exports of teak logs in calendar year 2000 will likely be similar to 1999, or about 247,000 cubic meters, while exports of other hardwood logs will likely be between 335,000 and 400,000 cubic meters. Production of lumber and other valueadded products for domestic use or for export is hampered by the low level of the local processing sector. The forestry sector is a good illustration of the constraints, both economic and policy, that Burma faces. Articulate and knowledgeable bureaucrats know what their problems are and have good ideas for resolving them. However, lack of resources, contradictory policies and programs between Ministries, and irresistible economic incentives often prevent these ideas from being implemented. The latter factor is a considerable problem for the forestry sector. Commercial extraction of tropical hardwoods, both officially and outside the system, are extremely profitable and an important earner of foreign exchange for the cash-strapped government. It is unlikely that the existing regulations, sound as they might be, can be completely effective in curbing illicit extraction. At the village level, the short-term economic benefits of gathering fuel wood or clearing land for crops simply overrule the longer-term benefits of reforestation or other environment-friendly land management techniques."
Author/creator: Daphne Khin Swe Swe Aye
Language: English
Source/publisher: US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Global Agriculture Information Network (GAIN)
Format/size: pdf (59K)
Date of entry/update: 23 September 2004


Title: Timber trade and wood flow study: Myanmar
Date of publication: 1999
Description/subject: Forest Resources: Natural Forests, Plantations. Production potential. Utilisation of Forest Resources: Legal Framework, Harvesting; Logging Volumes, Prices, Forest Policy, Certification of Forest Management. Forest Industries: Industry Structure, Forest Industry Production, Pulp and Paper Industry, Production Efficiency and Waste Management. International Wood Trade: Exports, Imports. Demand–Supply Balance: Commercial Utilisation, Household Utilisation, Wood Energy.
Author/creator: Tuukka Castrén
Language: English
Source/publisher: Regional Environmental Technical Assistance 5771 Poverty Reduction & Environmental Management in Remote Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Watersheds Project (Phase I).
Format/size: html, 37 pages
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003