Myanmar government to ban timber harvest in Pegu Yoma Mountain range

Boys standing on a jetty as a ship loaded with teak logs arrives at National Village timber yard by the Pegu River in Rangoon on February 2, 2014. (Photo: Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters)

In the fiscal year of 2017-2018, Pegu Range, home to some of Myanmar’s major forests, will undergo a 10-year hiatus for the harvest of timber, according to Aye Cho Thaung, deputy general manager of the country’s Forestry Department.

The Pegu Range, also known as Pegu Yoma, is a series of low mountains crossing Rangoon and Pegu divisions; the hills have experienced marked deforestation particularly due to the harvest of valuable teak wood which grows in the range.

“It’s like Pegu Yoma is now bald-headed,” said Aye Cho Thaung on Tuesday, describing the bare mountain peaks. “That’s why we will stop companies’ timber production starting from next year until 2027.”

The forestry department under the Ministry of National Resources and Environmental Conservation, will take control of all restricted forest reserves in the Pegu Range and will also ban logging by villagers in the surrounding areas.

The protected area stretches from Rangoon’s Hlegu Township to Yedashe Township in Pegu Division.

Aye explained that many loggers have long been harvesting teak illegally, contributing to the destruction of forests and the natural habitats of wildlife; this, Aye Cho Thaung said, was the primary reason for taking further measures to protect the Pegu Range.

Under Myanmar’s long history of military rule, many timber producers exceeded the legal limit of timber exports—particularly in the 1990s—with some military officials implicated in the trade alongside businessmen.

 

Source: The Irrawaddy