By Aung Kyaw Thant
The environment is the origin of the society which is home to living and non-living beings including humans. In fact, the environment treats the nature of the world and the life of humans. In this regard, forests, water sources, geographical conditions, safe use of chemicals and carbon emission, and other various reasons are basic factors in the conservation of natural environments as well as these factors are interrelated with one another.
Conservation of forests is a primary factor in protecting the natural environment. Gradual deforestation triggers a shortage of food, clothing and shelter for humans, followed by climate change. In Myanmar, the government’s efforts to conserve the natural environment resurged greening the barren areas. Once, the country faced deforestation as well as undisciplined extraction of timbers along the west and middle mountain ranges of the nation showing climate change and global warming effects. According to the statistics issued by the relevant ministries and international organizations in recent years, Myanmar’s forest coverage area surged to 42 per cent, starting to give a green light for the environmental situation of Myanmar.
Myanmar is implementing 11 points of the environmental conservation and forestry policy to protect the natural environment and biodiversity species, conservation of natural forests and establishment of forest plantations in order to ensure favourable weather and to contribute to the agriculture sector, providing basic forest product requirements of rural people, organizing the people to participate in environmental conservation and forest management measures, supply of timber for the people to build houses, extraction of timbers with minimizing loss and waste, emergence of wood-based industries, high capacity for forestry and environmental sector, implementation of environmental protection, harmonization of environment in development tasks, production of geographical maps for the State and exactly demarcation of State territory.
Global countries are seeking the best ways and means for the conservation of forest resources through the advancement of forestry science techniques. Meanwhile, Myanmar enacts laws related to preventing the illegal extraction of forest products as a prohibition to prevent possible impacts of environmental degradation.
Despite striving for improvement of the natural environment, Myanmar is still suffering the bad impacts of deforestation of the nation and desertification based on the loss of forests and water sources. As such, the government adopts effective timber extraction management strategies so as to protect forest sources and reestablish forests as much as possible.
Impacts of environmental degradation have proved terrible incidents such as landslides, soil and water erosions, forest fires, floods and so on. In a tragic incident which happened in May 2008, severe cyclonic storm Nargis swept many parts of the Ayeyawady and Yangon regions, leaving more than 130,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands of people injured with a large number of missing. Fortunately, the lives of a few numbers of people were saved by mangrove forests along the seaside areas. If so, everybody can understand the value of forests including mangrove forests in protecting the life and limbs of living beings including humans.
Taking a valuable lesson, local authorities in regions and states emphasize the establishment of forests in all parts as well as mangrove forests along the coastal lines and banks of rivers and creeks to protect the life and property of the people in addition to letting people extract necessary timbers under the rules and regulations.
Currently, the government establishes forest areas on some 32,000 hectares per year. It aims to meet the bio-fuel demand of the people and improvement of watershed areas. In this regard, public participation plays a key role in the establishment of forests and growing trees. Moreover, businesspersons set up commercial teak plantations in relevant blocks under the permission of the government. Whatever it may be, the emergence of forest areas will be a situation for the safety of people in the society with the resilience of natural disasters to some extent.
Moreover, authorities need to take care of the slush and burn system of farmers. Such a system can dreadfully harm the environment. So, agriculturists and environmentalists have to disseminate applicable knowledge to farmers on how to reclaim farmlands and what are dos and don’ts for reclamation to avoid environmental degradation. So, farmers need to reclaim new farmlands and croplands in the hilly farmlands, highland farmlands and conventional farmlands as they like. If so, their acts will not affect the environmental degradation.
To improve the activities of environmental conservation, the government has been cooperating with the Botanical Gardens Conservation International–BGCI, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora & Fauna–CITES, the Global Tiger Forum-GTF, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development-ICIMOD, the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan–INBA, the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing-ISPRS, the International Tropical Timber Organization-ITTO, the Regional Community Forestry Training Center–RECOFTC, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity–UNCBD, and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification-UNCCD from 1988 to date.
Everybody can notice tree-growing ceremonies across the nation from the early monsoon to the late monsoon every year. All strata of the people participate in these ceremonies in growing millions of saplings in all parts of the nation. However, most of the saplings lose the chance of nurturing for their thriving. Actually, if someone or some organizations take responsibility to nurture these saplings, the whole country can be placed under the shade of trees all year round. Consequently, the entire nation can avoid natural disasters as much as possible. So, let’s conserve the natural environment for the interests of the people and their future.