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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 > Threats to the forests of Burma/Myanmar
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Threats to the forests of Burma/Myanmar

  • Deforestation

    Websites/Multiple Documents

    Title: Myanmar Forest Information and Data
    Description/subject: TROPICAL RAINFORESTS: Deforestation rates tables and charts ... "According to the U.N. FAO, 48.3% or about 31,773,000 ha of Myanmar is forested, according to FAO. Of this 10.0% ( 3,192,000 ) is classified as primary forest, the most biodiverse and carbon-dense form of forest. Myanmar had 988,000 ha of planted forest. Change in Forest Cover: Between 1990 and 2010, Myanmar lost an average of 372,250 ha or 0.95% per year. In total, between 1990 and 2010, Myanmar lost 19.0% of its forest cover, or around 7,445,000 ha. Myanmar's forests contain 1,654 million metric tons of carbon in living forest biomass. Biodiversity and Protected Areas: Myanmar has some 1709 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles according to figures from the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Of these, 4.7% are endemic, meaning they exist in no other country, and 5.9% are threatened. Myanmar is home to at least 7000 species of vascular plants, of which 15.3% are endemic. 0.3% of Myanmar is protected under IUCN categories I-V...."
    Author/creator: Rhett A. Butler
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Mongbay.com
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 March 2012

    Title: World Rainforest Movement (WRM)
    Description/subject: A major resource. Several articles on Burma (use the Search and Info by country). Extremely good links page: NGOs, Intergovernmental Sites, Research Institutes; Other links. "The World Rainforest Movement is an international network of citizens' groups of North and South involved in efforts to defend the world's rainforests. It works to secure the lands and livelihoods of forest peoples and supports their efforts to defend the forests from commercial logging, dams, mining, plantations, shrimp farms, colonisation and settlement and other projects that threaten them..."
    Language: English, Espanol (WRM Bulletin)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

    Individual Documents

    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: Hpa-an Situation Update: T'Nay Hsah Township, November to December 2012
    Date of publication: 29 March 2013
    Description/subject: This report includes a situation update submitted to KHRG in December 2012 by a community member describing events occurring in Hpa-an District, between November and December 2012. The report details the concerns of villagers in T'Nay Hsah Township, who have faced significant declines in their paddy harvest due to bug infestation. The community member also raises villagers' concerns regarding the cutting down of teak-like trees by developers, for the establishment of rubber plantations. The report describes how this activity seriously threatens villagers' livelihoods, and takes place via the cooperation of companies and wealthy individuals with the Burma government. The report goes on to detail demands placed upon villagers by the Border Guard Force (BGF) to contribute money to pay soldiers' salaries. Though the community member reports that these demands are not as forcibly implemented as in the past; villagers still face threats if they do not comply. Many villagers in the area, however, have chosen not to pay the money requested of them by the BGF.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Format/size: html, pdf (128K)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/sites/default/files/khrg13b14.pdf
    Date of entry/update: 01 May 2013

    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)
    Date of entry/update: 29 November 2012

    Title: Mergui/Tavoy Interview: Saw K---, April 2012
    Date of publication: 18 July 2012
    Description/subject: "This report contains the full transcript of an interview conducted during April 2012 in Ler Mu Lah Township, Mergui/Tavoy District by a community member trained by KHRG to monitor human rights conditions. The community member interviewed 40-year-old G--- village head, Saw K---, who described abusive practices perpetrated by the Tatmadaw in his village throughout the previous four year period, including forced labour, arbitrary taxation in the form of both goods and money, and obstructions to humanitarian relief, specifically medical care availability and education support. Saw K--- also discussed development projects and land confiscation that has occurred in the area, including one oil palm company that came to deforest 700 acres of land next to G--- village in order to plant oil palm trees, as well as the arrival of a Malaysian logging company, neither of which provided any compensation to villagers for the land that was confiscated. However, the Malaysian logging company did provide enough wood, iron nails and roofing material for one school in the village, and promised the villagers that it would provide additional support later. Saw K--- raised other concerns regarding the food security, health care and difficulties with providing education for children in the village. In order to address these issues, Saw K--- explained that villagers have met with the Ler Mu Lah Township leaders to solve land confiscation problems, but some G--- villagers have had to give up their land, including a full nursery of betel nut plantations, based on the company’s claim that the plantations were illegally maintained."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
    Format/size: html, pdf (136K)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.khrg.org/sites/default/files/khrg12b64.pdf
    Date of entry/update: 12 August 2012

    Title: A Disharmonious Trade: China and the continued destruction of Burma's northern frontier forests
    Date of publication: 21 October 2009
    Description/subject: "The illegal cross-border timber trade between Burma and China has decreased significantly since 2005. However, �snake business' is widespread and the authorities in China should do more to clamp down, according to a new detailed review by the campaign group Global Witness. A Disharmonious Trade, the third in a series of reports on illegal logging in Burma, is based on field research carried out between 2005 and 2009 in Kachin State, along the Burma-China border, and on China's eastern seaboard. The field research is supported by an analysis of the latest trade data which shows that imports of logs and sawn wood across the land border from Burma fell by more than 70% between 2005 and 2008. However, 270,000 m3 of logs, and 170,000 m3 of sawn timber, were still imported into Kunming customs district in 2008, more than 90% of which was illegal. The decline in the illegal cross-border timber trade can be largely attributed to measures put in place by the Chinese authorities following the publication of Global Witness' report A Choice for China in October 2005. At that time, an average of one truck carrying 15 tonnes of illegally logged timber crossed an official Chinese checkpoint every 7 minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In stark contrast, Global Witness saw very few log trucks along the border during 2006-07 and 2009. However, some illicit trade continues, causing serious damage to the environment in Kachin State as the forest is cleared, often to make way for plantations. Timber is transported at night, official checkpoints avoided and documentation routinely falsified. In some instances, local enforcement agencies have turned a blind eye to smuggling; sources claim that corruption and bribery are rife. "Clearly action taken by authorities in China and Burma to combat illegal logging in Kachin state has had a significant positive impact. But they should do more to close down the remaining industry, which is almost wholly reliant on the illegal timber supply from Burma," said Jon Buckrell, Global Witness' Head of Forest Policy. "The Chinese government aspires to achieve a �harmonious society' but the continued destruction of Burma's northern frontier forests, largely by Chinese companies, provides a striking counterpoint to that vision." In late 2006 as part of their research, Global Witness investigators posed as buyers at flooring companies. At the time, thirteen out of 14 companies said that it was still possible for them to obtain timber from Burma across the land border despite import restrictions. These companies export timber throughout the world, including to Europe and America. A number of US-based companies are still advertising Burmese wood flooring on their websites despite the fact that the Lacey Act now bans commerce in illegally obtained timber and wood products. This is just part of a wider problem. Half of China's timber imports from all countries are probably illegal and China accounts for roughly a quarter of all illegal timber being traded internationally. Chinese timber exports account for 10% of the global trade in illegal timber. This has a knock-on effect for other countries. For example, the UK imports more illegal timber than any other EU country because it buys so much from China."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Global Witness
    Format/size: pdf (16MB - full text)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.globalwitness.org/media_library_get.php/1092/1266561724/a_disharmonious_trade.pdf (full text)
    Date of entry/update: 19 February 2010

    Title: World Environment Day Celebrated
    Date of publication: 05 June 2009
    Description/subject: Fourteen churches launched a campaign on World Environment Day on Friday to protect the environment in Kachin State. Tang Goon, a director of the Kachin Baptist Convention youth department, which is based on the Burma-China border, said that the campaigns in Waingmaw Township and other cities are designed to make people aware of the value of the environment and encourage people to grow trees. “To have a good environment, everyone has a duty to take care of it and to love of it,” he said.
    Author/creator: LAWI WENG
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: The Irrawaddy
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 20 September 2010

    Title: Where Money Grows on Trees
    Date of publication: August 2007
    Description/subject: Getting to the roots of Burma’s latest timber export trade... They had been rooted in Burma’s soil for many years, some of them for more than a century. Then the heavy excavation machinery moved in—and the trees moved out, across the border to China. Some Burmese nature lovers say the trees will be homesick, but for Burmese and Chinese entrepreneurs they just represent money. Lots of money..."
    Author/creator: Khun Sam
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol 15, No. 8
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 02 May 2008

    Title: A Choice for China: Ending the destruction of Burma's frontier forests
    Date of publication: 18 October 2005
    Description/subject: (Press release): "... Ending the destruction of Burma’s northern frontier forests" , details shocking new evidence of the massive illicit plunder of Burma’s forests by Chinese logging companies. Much of the logging takes place in forests that form part of an area said to be “very possibly the most bio-diverse, rich, temperate area on earth.” In 2004, more than 1 million cubic meters of timber, about 95% of Burma’s total timber exports to China were illegally exported from northern Burma to Yunnan Province. This trade, amounting to a $250 million loss for the Burmese people, every year, takes place with the full knowledge of the Burmese regime, the government in Beijing and the rest of the international community. Chinese companies, local Chinese authorities, regional Tatmadaw and ethnic ceasefire groups are all directly involved. “On average, one log truck, carrying about 15 tonnes of timber, logged illegally in Burma, crosses an official Chinese checkpoint every seven minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; yet they do nothing.” Said Jon Buckrell of Global Witness. In September 2001 the government of the People’s Republic of China made a commitment to strengthen bilateral collaboration to address violations of forest law and forest crime, including illegal logging and associated illegal trade. However, since then, illegal imports of timber across the Burma-China border have actually increased by 60%. “A few Chinese businessmen, backed by the authorities in Yunnan Province, are completely undermining Chinese government initiatives to combat illegal logging. Not only are the activities of these loggers jeopardising the prospect of sustainable development in northern Burma they are also breaking Chinese law.” Said Buckrell."... Download as Word (english 2.0 Mb) | PDF (english - low resolution 6.9 Mb) | PDF (english - low resolution - part 1 1.6 Mb) | PDF (english - low resolution - part 2 1.5 Mb) | PDF (english - low resolution - part 3 1.2 Mb) | Word (chinese 2.5 Mb) | PDF (chinese - low resolution 7.8 Mb) | PDF (chinese - low resolution - part 1 4.0 Mb) | PDF (chinese - low resolution - part 2 2.9 Mb) | PDF (chinese - appendices 2.1 Mb) | Word (burmese - press release 47 Kb) | Word (chinese - press release 29 Kb) | Word (burmese - executive summary 51 Kb) In September 2004 EU member states called for the European Commission to produce “…specific proposals to address the issue of Burmese illegal logging…” Later, in October, the European Council expressed support for the development of programmes to address, “the problem of non-sustainable, excessive logging” that resulted in deforestation in Burma. To date, the EU has done next to nothing. “Like China, the EU has so far failed the Burmese people. How many more livelihoods will be destroyed before the Commission and EU member states get their act together?” Asked Buckrell. It is essential that the Chinese government stops timber imports across the Burma-China border, with immediate effect, and until such time sufficient safeguards are in place that can guarantee legality of the timber supply. The Chinese authorities should also take action against companies and officials involved in the illegal trade. Global Witness is calling for the establishment of a working group to facilitate measures to combat illegal logging, to ensure equitable, transparent and sustainable forest management, and to promote long-term development in northern Burma. “It is vitally important that all stakeholders work together to end the rampant destruction of Burma’s forests and to ensure that the necessary aid and long-term investment reach this impoverished region.” Said Jon Buckrell.
    Language: Burmese, Chinese, English,
    Source/publisher: Global Witness
    Format/size: pdf, Word
    Alternate URLs: http://globalwitness.org
    Date of entry/update: 18 October 2005

    Date of publication: June 2005
    Description/subject: ABSTRACT: Some countries have gained control of their forest-exploiting industries through advanced regulatory regimes. But stricter regulation usually displaces forestexploitation into countries with weaker regulatory regimes. The most important current example is the shift of forest-exploitation for the Chinese market from China into Southeast Asia following the logging ban in China in 1998. In this paper we describe and document the impact of the logging ban after the 1998 floods: declining production within China, and increasing production for the Chinese market within Southeast Asia, including both legal and illegal logging. We also note the differences in the impact of the Chinese demand for forest products on various Southeast Asian countries. The differences are partly the result of differences in the levels of corruption, local political economy, and state regulatory capacity among countries in Southeast Asia.
    Author/creator: Graeme Lang and Cathy Hiu Wan Chan
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: The Southeast Asia Research Centre (SEARC) of the City University of Hong Kong: Working Paper Series No. 77 June 2005
    Format/size: pdf (538K)
    Date of entry/update: 18 February 2009

    Title: Forest cover change patterns in Myanmar (Burma) 1990•2000
    Date of publication: 22 April 2005
    Description/subject: SUMMARY: "Myanmar is one of the most forested countries in mainland South-east Asia. These forests support a large number of important species and endemics and have great value for global efforts in biodiversity conservation. Landsat satellite imagery from the 1990s and 2000s was used to develop a countrywide forest map and estimate deforestation. The country has retained much of its forest cover, but forests have declined by 0.3% annually. Deforestation varied considerably among administrative units, with central and more populated states and divisions showing the highest losses. Ten deforestation hotspots had annual deforestation rates well above the countrywide average. Major reasons for forest losses in these hotspots stemmed from increased agricultural conversion, fuelwood consumption, charcoal production, commercial logging and plantation development. While Myanmar continues to be a stronghold for closed canopy forests, several areas have been experiencing serious deforestation. Most notable are the mangrove forests in the Ayeyarwady delta region and the remaining dry forests at the northern edge of the central dry zone."... Keywords: biodiversity, change detection, deforestation rates, forest, forest dynamics, Landsat
    Author/creator: Peter Leimgruber, Daniel S. Kelly, Marc. K. Steininger, Jake Brunner, Thomas Mueller, Melissa Songer
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Foundation for Environmental Conservation (Environmental Conservation 32 (4): 356•364 © 2005)
    Format/size: pdf (314K)
    Date of entry/update: 15 July 2012

    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
    Date of entry/update: 18 August 2010

    Title: The Greening of a Dictatorship
    Date of publication: October 2004
    Description/subject: "International environmentalists have praised Burma for its commitment to conservation, yet in reality the greening of the Burmese dictatorship is just another tool for military coercion and advancement..."
    Author/creator: Zao Noam
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 12, No. 9
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 11 November 2004

    Title: Destruction and Degradation of the Burmese Frontier Forests: Listening to the People's Voices
    Date of publication: September 2004
    Description/subject: The politics of Burma and deforestation: a. Politics of Burma; b. Logging and civil war... Kachin State by PKDS: a. Logging business: b. Who benefits from the logging... Karen State by KESAN: a. Doo The Htoo District; b. Mu Traw District (Pa Pun); c. Toungoo District... Conclusions and recommendations by KESAN... Maps...
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Pan Kachin Development Society, Karen Environmental and Social Action Network, Searchweb
    Format/size: pdf (1.6MB), html
    Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs/KESAN-PKDS_D&D.ocr.pdf
    Date of entry/update: 30 November 2004

    Title: Navigating the Border: An Analysis of the China-Myanmar Timber Trade
    Date of publication: 2004
    Description/subject: Summary: China’s trade in timber products with Myanmar grew substantially from 1997-2002, from 295,474 m3 (round wood equivalent, RWE) in 1997 to 947,765 m3 (RWE) in 2002. Despite increased volume, timber product imports from Myanmar comprised only 2.5% of China’s total timber product imports from 1997-2002. However, the small fraction of total imports masks two important features: i) timber imports from Myanmar are primarily logged in slow-growing natural forests in northern Myanmar; and ii) logging activities that support the China-Myanmar timber trade are increasingly concentrated along the border in northern Myanmar’s Kachin State. This greater concentration of the timber trade has begun to have substantial ecological and socio-economic impacts within China’s borders. The majority of China’s timber product imports from Myanmar are shipped overland through neighboring Yunnan Province – 88% of all imports from 1997-2002 according to China’s national customs statistics. Of these, more than 75% of timber product inflows passed through the three prefectures in northwest Yunnan that border Kachin State. Most of these logging activities are currently concentrated in three areas — Pianma Township (Nujiang Prefecture), Yingjiang County (Dehong Prefecture), and Diantan Township (Baoshan Municipality). Logging that sustains the timber industry along Yunnan’s border with Kachin State is done by Chinese companies that are operating in Myanmar but are based along the border in China. Logging activities in Kachin State, from actual harvesting to road building, are almost all carried out by Chinese citizens. Although the volume of China’s timber product imports from Myanmar is small by comparison, the scale of logging along the border is considerable, and border townships and counties have become over-reliant on the timber trade as a primary means of fiscal revenue. As the costs of logging in Myanmar rise, this situation is increasingly becoming economically unsustainable, and shifts in the timber industry will have significant implications for the future of Yunnan’s border region. Importantly, a large proportion of logging and timber processing along the border is both managed and manned by migrant workers. Because of companies’ and workers’ low level of embeddedness in the local economy, border village communities are particularly vulnerable to swings in the timber trade. More broadly, timber trade has done little to promote sustained economic growth along the China-Myanmar border as profits, by and large, have not been redirected into local economies. In addition to socio-economic pressures, the combination of insufficient regulation in China and political instability in northern Myanmar has exacted a high ecological price. The uncertain regulatory and contractual environment has oriented the border logging industry toward short-term harvesting and profits, rather than investments in longer-term timber production. Degradation in Myanmar’s border forests will have an impact on China’s forests, as wildlife, pest and disease management, forest fire prevention and containment, and controlling natural disasters caused by soil erosion all become increasingly difficult. While political reform in northern Myanmar is a precondition for improved regulation and management of Myanmar’s forests, the Chinese government has a series of economic, trade, security and environmental policy options that it could pursue to ensure its own ecological security and enhance the socio-economic benefits of trade. Potential avenues explored in this analysis include: i) promoting longer-term border trade and distributing benefits from the timber trade, ii) improving border control and industry regulation, iii) enhancing environmental security and strengthening environmental cooperation, and iv) exploring flexibility in the logging ban... TABLE OF CONTENTS: LOGGING IN MYANMAR: A BACKGROUND; MYANMAR’S FORESTS; BASIC TRADE; GEOGRAPHY; AN ANALYSIS OF AGGREGATE IMPORT STATISTICS, 1997-2002; THE LOGGING BAN IN YUNNAN; THE TIMBER PRODUCTION CHAIN: INTRODUCTION; THE TIMBER PRODUCTION CHAIN: EXTRACTION; THE TIMBER PRODUCTION CHAIN: PROCESSING; THE TIMBER PRODUCTION CHAIN: DISTRIBUTION AND EXPORT; TIMBER TRADE TRENDS BY PREFECTURE; BORDER AND TRADE ADMINISTRATION: CHINA; FOREST AND TRADE ADMINISTRATION: MYANMAR; DEVELOPMENTS WITH POTENTIAL IMPLICATIONS FOR THE CHINA-MYANMAR TIMBER TRADE; CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS; REFERENCES.
    Author/creator: Fredrich Kahrl, Horst Weyerhaeuser, Su Yufang
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Forest Trends, World Agroforestry Centre
    Format/size: pdf (1.28MB)
    Alternate URLs: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:x5pqY-71SO8J:
    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
    Date of entry/update: 20 July 2010

    Title: Capitalizing on Conflict: How Logging and Mining Contribute to Environmental Destruction in Burma.
    Date of publication: October 2003
    Description/subject: "'Capitalizing on Conflict' presents information illustrating how trade in timber, gems, and gold is financing violent conflict, including widespread and gross human rights abuses, in Burma. Although trade in these “conflict goods” accounts for a small percentage of the total global trade, it severely compromises human security and undermines socio-economic development, not only in Burma, but throughout the region. Ironically, cease-fire agreements signed between the late 1980s and early 1990s have dramatically expanded the area where businesses operate. While many observers have have drawn attention to the political ramifications of these ceasefires, little attention has been focused on the economic ramifications. These ceasefires, used strategically by the military regime to end fighting in some areas and foment intra-ethnic conflict in others and weaken the unity of opposition groups, have had a net effect of increasing violence in some areas. Capitalizing on Conflict focuses on two zones where logging and mining are both widespread and the damage from these activities is severe... Both case studies highlight the dilemmas cease-fire arrangements often pose for the local communities, which frequently find themselves caught between powerful and conflicting military and business interests. The information provides insights into the conditions that compel local communities to participate in the unsustainable exploitation of their own local resources, even though they know they are destroying the very ecosystems they depend upon to maintain their way of life. The other alternative — to stand aside and let outsiders do it and then be left with nothing — is equally unpalatable..." Table of Contents: Map of Burma; Map of Logging and Mining Areas; Executive Summary; Recommendations; Part I: Context; General Background on Cease-fires; Conflict Trade and Burma; Part II: Logging Case Study; Background on the Conflict; Shwe Gin Township (Pegu Division); Papun Districut (Karen State); Reported Socio-Economic and Environmental Impacts; Part III: Mining Case Study; Background on the Conflict; Mogok (Mandalay Division); Shwe Gin Township (Pegu Division); Reported Socio-Economic and Environmental Impacts; Conclusion.
    Author/creator: Ken MacLean
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: EarthRights International (ERI), Karen Environnmental & Social Action Network (KESAN)
    Format/size: pdf (939K)
    Date of entry/update: 07 November 2003

    Title: Burma: New roads pave the way for massive logging
    Date of publication: January 2002
    Description/subject: "A project is in progress to build a number of roads in Kachin State in return for huge logging concessions. While improving and expanding the infrastructure in Kachin State is much needed, the impact of this deal on the environment could prove to be disastrous. A recent agreement involves the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO), the New Democratic Army-Kachin (NDA-K), the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) and a Chinese construction company. The middleman in the deal is the Kachin Jadeland company, owned by Kachin businessmen Yup Zau Hkawng. The agreement stipulates that the Chinese company will build roads leading from Myitkyina to Sumprabum and, eventually, Putao, from Myitkyina to Bhamo, and from Wai Maw (near Myitkyina) to the Chinese border near Kampaiti..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: WRM's bulletin N� 54, January 2002.
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

    Title: The War on Kachin Forests
    Date of publication: November 2001
    Description/subject: "One of the world’s "biodiversity hotspots" is under siege, as a growing number of business interests seek to cash in the "peace" in northern Burma’s Kachin State... A project is in progress to build a number of roads in Kachin State in return for huge logging concessions. While improving and expanding the infrastructure in Kachin State is much needed, the impact of this deal on the environment could prove to be disastrous..."
    Author/creator: John S. Moncreif and Htun Myat
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 9. No. 8
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

    Title: Illegal Logging in Indonesia, South East Asia and International Consumption of Illegally Sourced Timber
    Date of publication: 01 September 2001
    Description/subject: "The result of in-depth research and extensive on-the-ground investigations, the report exposes the scale of illegal logging and illegal timber trade in East Asia with a special focus on Indonesia. The report also highlights the role played by major tropical timber consuming nations including the US, Europe, Japan and China in driving illegal logging by providing a ready market for illegally sourced timber and timber products. In many of the countries of South-East Asia illegal logging outstrips legal logging, and large quantities of this timber finds its way to the international markets either direct or via neighbouring countries which often act as laundering points. The destruction wrought by this commercial scale illegal logging, much of it in National Parks, is resulting in rapidly diminishing forests across the region and is pushing many species including the Orang-utan, Asia's only Great Ape, closer to extinction.
    Author/creator: Dave Currey, Faith Doherty, Sam Lawson, Julian Newman, and A. Ruwindrijarto.
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)
    Format/size: pdf (1.49 MB)
    Alternate URLs: http://www.eia-international.org/cgi/reports/reports.cgi?t=template&a=26
    Date of entry/update: 08 September 2010

    Title: Logging Burma's Frontier Forests
    Date of publication: 1998
    Description/subject: Lots of maps...Burma holds half of the remaining forest in mainland Southeast Asia. Having lost virtually all of their original forest cover, Burma's neighbors -- China, India, and Thailand -- rely increasingly on Burma as a source of timber. Most of the regional timber trade is illegal. (See The Regional Timber Trade in Southeast Asia.) The rate of deforestation in Burma has more than doubled since the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC), the military regime that rules the country, came to power in 1988. (See Timber Production in Burma and The State Law and Order Restoration Council.) Increased deforestation is primarily due to a rapid growth in logging in Burma's border areas. Timber exports have helped pay for the regime's arms purchases and a doubling in the size of the army. (See Deforestation Rates in Burma.) Seventeen of the 20 ethnic minority armies, many of which have been in insurrection since independence in 1948, have negotiated cease-fires with the regime, but not peace agreements. The current situation of "no peace, no war" has encouraged unbridled logging in some of the border areas. (See The Chinese-Burmese Border.) Wasteful and destructive logging by the regime, some of the ethnic minorities, and foreign companies along the borders with China and Thailand has resulted in extensive deforestation that has caused massive soil erosion, sedimentation of rivers, increased flooding, and acute dry season water shortages in some areas. (See The Thai-Burmese Border.) Satellite data show that forest clearing in Kachin State more than tripled between 1978-1989 and 1989-1996, and that logging is responsible for almost half the deforestation. Kachin State holds one of the region's last large tracts of relatively undisturbed forest. The rapid fragmentation of this forest, and the biodiversity conservation and watershed protection it provides, is of national and international concern. (See Kachin State: A Frontier Forest.) Opinion is divided on whether the international community should engage the regime to support forest conservation in Burma. Only limited opportunities exist for the international community to provide effective support to local communities or to the Forest Department, or to engage the regime through Burma's signatory status to international agreements. (See The Role of the International Community and Community Forestry.) Under current political circumstances, there is no scope for direct engagement by the international community. It is therefore recommended that an independent satellite-based forest monitoring system be established to report on the state of Burma�s forests, that environmental issues be included in the international dialogue about how to influence the regime, and that the international community take advantage of international agreements to request information from the regime about forest management and timber production..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: World Resources International
    Format/size: pdf (7.3 MB)
    Alternate URLs: http://archive.wri.org/publication_detail.cfm?pubid=2928
    Date of entry/update: 01 September 2010

    Title: Teak statt Menschenrechte
    Date of publication: 1998
    Description/subject: Bis vor kurzer Zeit war Burma (Myanmar) das Land mit mehr intaktem Tropenwald als irgendein anderes Land auf dem südostasiatischen Festland. Es liefert das wertvollste Teakholz, das weltweit auf dem Markt ist - Holz aus den letzten primären Teakwäldern der Erde. Nachdem in den letzten Jahrzehnten die Primärwälder Indiens, Thailands und Kambodschas weitgehend geplündert wurden, sind seit einigen Jahren die Teakwälder Burmas an der Reihe. Vom Ausverkauf dieser bedeutenden (und extrem artenreichen) Wälder profitiert allein das burmesische Militärregime, das mit den Profiten aus dem Holzhandel den Krieg gegen die aufständischen Minderheiten im Süden des Landes finanziert. keywords: Logging, teak, military regime, human rights, forced labour
    Author/creator: Sabine Genz
    Language: Deutsch, German
    Source/publisher: Robin Wood Magazin Jg. 98 Nr. 2; S.20
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 17 November 2010

    Title: Kawthoolei and Teak: Karen Forest Management on the Thai-Burmese Border
    Date of publication: October 1997
    Description/subject: "The Karen State of Kawthoolei has been heavily dependent on teak extraction to fund the Karen National Union struggle against the Burmese military junta, the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC). Raymond Bryant explores the social and economic structure of Kawthoolei, and the way in which resource extraction was more than simply a source of revenue � it was also an integral part of the assertion of Karen sovereignty..."
    Author/creator: Raymond Bryant
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "Watershed" Vol.3 No.1 July - October 1997
    Format/size: pdf (59K)
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

    Title: Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study: Country Report, Myanmar
    Date of publication: June 1997
    Description/subject: Working Paper No: APFSOS/WP/08 Forest Department, Ministry of Forestry, Myanmar Forestry Policy and Planning Division, Rome. Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok. "The scope of the study is to look at the main external and sectoral developments in policies, programmes and institutions that will affect the forestry sector and to assess from this the likely direction of its evolution and to present its likely situation in 2010. The study involves assessment of current status but also of trends from the past and the main forces which are shaping those trends and then builds on this to explore future prospects..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

  • Multiple threats

    Individual Documents

    Title: Turning Treasure Into Tears - Mining, Dams and Deforestation in Shwegyin Township, Pegu Division, Burma
    Date of publication: 20 February 2007
    Description/subject: Executive Summary: "This report describes how human rights and environmental abuses continue to be a serious problem in eastern Pegu division, Burma – specifi cally, in Shwegyin township of Nyaunglebin District. The heavy militarization of the region, the indiscriminate granting of mining and logging concessions, and the construction of the Kyauk Naga Dam have led to forced labor, land confi scation, extortion, forced relocation, and the destruction of the natural environment. The human consequences of these practices, many of which violate customary and conventional international law, have been social unrest, increased fi nancial hardship, and great personal suffering for the victims of human rights abuses. By contrast, the SPDC and its business partners have benefi ted greatly from this exploitation. The businessmen, through their contacts, have been able to rapidly expand their operations to exploit the township’s gold and timber resources. The SPDC, for its part, is getting rich off the fees and labor exacted from the villagers. Its dam project will forever change the geography of the area, at great personal cost to the villagers, but it will give the regime more electricity and water to irrigate its agro-business projects. Karen villagers in the area previously panned for gold and sold it to supplement their incomes from their fi elds and plantations. They have also long been involved in small-scale logging of the forests. In 1997, the SPDC and businessmen began to industrialize the exploitation of gold deposits and forests in the area. Businessmen from central Burma eventually arrived and in collusion with the Burmese Army gained mining concessions and began to force people off of their land. Villagers in the area continue to lose their land, and with it their ability to provide for themselves. The Army abuses local villagers, confi scates their land, and continues to extort their money. Commodity prices continue to rise, compounding the diffi culties of daily survival. Large numbers of migrant workers have moved into the area to work the mining concessions and log the forests. This has created a complicated tension between the Karen and these migrants. While the migrant workers are merely trying to earn enough money to feed their families, they are doing so on the Karen’s ancestral land and through the exploitation of local resources. Most of the migrant workers are Burman, which increases ethnic tensions in an area where Burmans often represent the SPDC and the Army and are already seen as sneaky and oppressive by the local Karen. These forms of exploitation increased since the announcement of the construction of the Kyauk Naga Dam in 2000, which is expected to be completed in late 2006. The SPDC has enabled the mining and logging companies to extract as much as they can before the area upstream of the dam is fl ooded. This situation has intensifi ed and increased human rights violations against villagers in the area. The militarization of the region, as elsewhere, has resulted in forced labor, extortion of money, goods, and building materials, and forced relocation by the Army. In addition to these direct human rights violations, the mining and dam construction have also resulted in grave environmental degradation of the area. The mining process has resulted in toxic runoff that has damaged or destroyed fi elds and plantations downstream. The dam, once completed, will submerge fi elds, plantations, villages, and forests. In addition, the dam will be used to irrigate rubber plantations jointly owned by the SPDC and private business interests. The Burmese Army has also made moves to secure the area in the mountains to the east of the Shwegyin River. This has led to relocations and the forced displacement of thousands of Karen villagers living in the mountains. Once the Army has secured the area, the mining and logging companies will surely follow..."
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: EarthRights International (ERI)
    Format/size: pdf (632K)
    Date of entry/update: 06 March 2007

    Title: The War on Kachin Forests
    Date of publication: November 2001
    Description/subject: "One of the world’s "biodiversity hotspots" is under siege, as a growing number of business interests seek to cash in the "peace" in northern Burma’s Kachin State... A project is in progress to build a number of roads in Kachin State in return for huge logging concessions. While improving and expanding the infrastructure in Kachin State is much needed, the impact of this deal on the environment could prove to be disastrous..."
    Author/creator: John S. Moncreif and Htun Myat
    Language: English
    Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 9. No. 8
    Format/size: html
    Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003