Myanmar reduces teak production to preserve forests

YANGON – Myanmar will cut its output of processed teak by around a third this fiscal year, a senior official said Friday, to preserve its dwindling forests. 

“We have decided to reduce the rate of teak production year by year,” Aye Myint Maung, deputy minister of environmental conservation and forestry, told Parliament.

A maximum of 60,000 tonnes of sawn teak is to be produced in the year to March 2105, he said, down from 93,178 tonnes the previous year.

Myanmar workers prepare teak logs in a wood yard in Yangon, Myanmar in April 2012. The country has announced it will cut its output of processed teak by around a third this fiscal year to preserve its dwindling forests. (EPA photo)

The country produced 610,000 tonnes of other hardwoods in the year to March 31, according to ministry figures.

Last year’s wood-product exports took in 947 million United States dollars, a top foreign exchange earner for the impoverished country.

Teak has been a major resource for Myanmar for centuries, and was an important source of income for the British under colonial rule that ended in 1948.

The country historically produced up to 300,000 tonnes of teak a year, but production has fallen in recent years due to dwindling supply, according to the Myanmar Timber Enterprise.

Forest cover fell by around a fifth between 1990 and 2010, from 58% of the country to 47%, according to government figures.

The government has banned the export of teak logs but allows exports of sawn wood.

Bangkok Post

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