Govt reviews forest management as Dutch police seize Myanmar teak

The government is set to review the country’s forest management strategy as it faces an uphill struggle against deforestation and illegal logging, a senior forestry official said.

U Than Soe, director of the Department of Forestry, said the review of the 2016plan will look into compliance, changes in the forest sector and the reforms that might be needed to make it more effective in managing and protecting the forests.

He said a more comprehensive review and revision would be made in 2026.

“After 10 years, it has to be reviewed and revised,” U Than Soe told the Myanmar Times, adding the revision will focus on“what areas should be demarcated as watershed forests, which areas should be allowed for timber extraction and which areas should be conserved and protected.”

Myanmar is one of the countries where deforestation occurs rapidly in the face of weak forest management and enforcement of laws.

Exports of raw timber logs were banned since 2014 to protect forests from deforestation but illegal logging and timber trade remains unabated, according to local and foreign environment advocates.

Last week, the Dutch police seized large quantity of alleged ‘illegal’ Myanmar teak during a raid at six addresses in Noord Holland, Utrecht and Gelderland, according to Environmental Investigation Agency, a UK-based international non-government organization that investigates and campaigns against environment abuses.

The EIA said in a statement the seized timber came from the Czech Republic, which has weak enforcement of the European Union Timber Regulations (EUTR).

The EUTR requires companies to perform due diligence to ensure that the timber they are buying is of sustainable and legal provenance.

“Earlier this year we exposed how traders in Myanmar were redirecting supply through third countries in Europe in order to avoid countries with strong EUTR enforcement, said Faith Doherty, EIA forests campaign leader.

“The trade is highly lucrative and the use of the Czech Republic as one route indicated how devious they were becoming in avoiding the law,” she added.

Top-quality teak is much prized in Europe and is mainly used for the decking of luxury yachts.

Source: Myanmar Times

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