Myanmar’s Forestry Department has submitted a proposal to ban commercial harvesting, a move welcomed by the Forest Resource Environment Development and Conservation Association (FREDA).
While there has been no official announcement, a senior official from the Myanma Timber Enterprise (MTE) has said that his organisation intends to end its logging operations at the end of this fiscal year.
The plan submitted by the Forestry Department proposes the ban in 68 Districts. Prior to 2014 the annual log harvest was over 1 million tonnes but in 2014 this was reduced to around 60,000 tonnes of teak and 670,000 tonnes of other hardwoods. Domestic log stocks have been estimated at around 200,000 tonnes of teak logs and 500,000 tonnes of other hardwoods. These stocks are in the hands of just a few millers and analysts estimate this volume could meet the domestic demand for about two years.
While the private sector is not opposed to the ban, a phased approach is preferred as it gives time to adjust production and unemployment in the sector.