Title

Illegal Logging and Associated Trade inMyanmar: Impacts of Government Measures to Address Illegal Logging

Author Information

Forest Trends

Location

Myanmar

Date of Publication

2021 12:00 AM

Keywords

illegal logging, Myanmar, state revenue, rule of law, timber products, Union Government of Myanmar, timber production and trade, srhreports, illegallogging, country-myanmar

Description

Commercial logging has been a significant driver of deforestation in Myanmar; the country has lost 27 percent of its forest since 1990. Much of the logging is unreported, if not illegal. This illicit shadow economy poses a clear risk to Myanmar’s forests and the millions of citizens that rely on these ecosystems for their lives and livelihoods. But more broadly, it undermines state revenue (and the funding of government services), rule of law, and peacebuilding. Illegal trade also undermines the ability of Myanmar timber products to access more lucrative, but discerning, markets, such as Europe and the U.S. To that end, the Union Government of Myanmar (UGoM) has taken several measures intended to improve the management of the forestry sector and address illegal logging. Indeed, the manifesto of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) includes the recognition that the rate of timber harvest must be reduced. This report presents an analysis of the effectiveness of these measures, mainly through an examination of publicly available data released by the Union Government through the Myanmar Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (MEITI) and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). These government data are compared with trends in timber production and trade over the past six decades, as reported by the UN FAO and Comtrade, and the customs agencies of India and China. This analysis comes with important caveats: there are large discrepancies among sources and the accuracy of reporting by any organization is unclear. However, the data from Myanmar were generated by government, meaning the trends reflect the way the sector is portrayed by the UGoM through its reporting, and presumably, are also used to inform government decision-making.

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Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Illegal Logging and Associated Trade inMyanmar: Impacts of Government Measures to Address Illegal Logging

Myanmar

Commercial logging has been a significant driver of deforestation in Myanmar; the country has lost 27 percent of its forest since 1990. Much of the logging is unreported, if not illegal. This illicit shadow economy poses a clear risk to Myanmar’s forests and the millions of citizens that rely on these ecosystems for their lives and livelihoods. But more broadly, it undermines state revenue (and the funding of government services), rule of law, and peacebuilding. Illegal trade also undermines the ability of Myanmar timber products to access more lucrative, but discerning, markets, such as Europe and the U.S. To that end, the Union Government of Myanmar (UGoM) has taken several measures intended to improve the management of the forestry sector and address illegal logging. Indeed, the manifesto of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) includes the recognition that the rate of timber harvest must be reduced. This report presents an analysis of the effectiveness of these measures, mainly through an examination of publicly available data released by the Union Government through the Myanmar Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (MEITI) and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). These government data are compared with trends in timber production and trade over the past six decades, as reported by the UN FAO and Comtrade, and the customs agencies of India and China. This analysis comes with important caveats: there are large discrepancies among sources and the accuracy of reporting by any organization is unclear. However, the data from Myanmar were generated by government, meaning the trends reflect the way the sector is portrayed by the UGoM through its reporting, and presumably, are also used to inform government decision-making.