Myanma Timber Enterprise (MTE) is a State-owned business making money from home and abroad by manufacturing and selling value-added wood products. The MTE has to carry out the felling of the selected trees or girdled teak trees within limits following the instructions in the National Code of Forest Harvesting Practices in line with the Myanma Selection System as the Forest Department prescribes annual allowable cut on the basis of its inventory of trees and its growing stock.
Annual extraction of teak and hardwood
The report by FAO issued on 21 July 2020 revealed that Myanmar forest area coverage in 2020 accounts for 42.19% of the overall area of the country. According to the current forest area coverage, the government is placing emphasis on the balanced approach towards conservation and development in a sustainable manner and highlighting environmental and biodiversity conservation. With a reduction in the extraction of wood, the permission for felling the trees was granted under a certain allowable percentage annually. Apart from the timber extracted from the natural forests, priority is placed on the extraction of timber from the age-old timber plantations. The MTE ceased the timber extraction for one year in 2016-2017 financial years and continued the timber extraction annually from 2017-2018FY to 2019-2020 reducing the amount of the annual allowable cut. There are 9,269 teak trees and 476,191 hardwood trees in the natural forest ever year.
MTE planned to extract 15,000 tonnes from 30 years and above old teak plantations and granted permission to extract 5,400 tonnes in 2018-2019FY. Plans were underway to extract 10,000 tonnes of teak in 2019-2020FY, but permission was granted to extract 5,000 tonnes of teak from 30 years and above old teak plantations and 5,000 tonnes of teak from the natural forest.
Permission has been granted to extract 8,000 tonnes of teak and 200,000 tonnes of hardwood in 2020-2021FY. 3,639 teak plants accounting for 39.3% and 95,695 for 20.2% will be annually extracted from the natural forest of the Department of Forest. There was a plan to extract 8,000 tonnes of teak and permission was granted to extract 4,000 tonnes of teak from 30 years and above old teak plantations and 4,000 tonnes of teak from the natural forest.
The logs from the extraction of 8,000 tonnes of teak and 200,000 tonnes of hardwood will be sold through the open tender system with a competitive bidding in 2020-2021FY, and sawn timber and value-added wood products will also be sold with the hope of earning K28.216 billion kyats and USD76.3 million during the same financial year.
To ensure continuous extraction and use of timber and other forest products and to fulfil the timber necessary for the public.
To improve wood-based industries minimizing the wastes in the extraction of forest resources.
Annual sales of sawn timber
The local marketing and milling department under the control of the Myanma Timber Enterprise manufactures and sells sawn timber of teak and other hardwood to the construction projects in the regions and states, the civil servants and the people every year. But the less distribution of the sawn timber could not meet the demand from the people.
According to the date a released by the Department of Population in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar on 1 April 2019, Myanmar had a population of 54,101,253 with 10,877,832 households—3,049,433 households in the urban areas and 7,828,399 households in the rural areas. According to the report on the census and number of houses carried out in 2014, type of house and number of households were shown against separate urban and rural areas. There were a total of 4,482,384 households of wooden houses—1,141,465 urban households and 3,340,919 rural households.
Sawn timber is actually needed to be used in the regional development works in the villages from regions and states, and in the construction of religious structures and houses for the people. Regarding, the chief ministers of regions and states, ministers and Hluttaw representatives held discussions with relevant Union ministers at the parliamentary sessions.
Approvals from chief ministers of regions and states should be sought to fulfil annual sawn timber requirement
Greater coordination is needed between administrative bodies at the different levels of village, village-tract, township, district from regions and states and relevant departments in order to calculate how many tonnes of timber are required for a year and then approvals from chief ministers of regions and states should be sought to fulfill annual sawn timber requirement. If Union Territory and 15 regions and states need about 50,000 tonnes of sawn timber, the MTE will mill 100,000 logs and then distribute them wherever necessary.
The seizure of illegal timber and forest products from October to June in 2019-2020FY of Forest Department from regions and states carried in Mirror daily issued in August 2020 is to the following.
The total seizure included 8,294 tonnes of teak, 6,024 tonnes of hardwood, and 17,143 tonnes of other types of timber totalling 31,461 tonnes. The seizure amount of illegal timber and forest products amounted to 31,461 tonnes within nine months. A total of 48,681 tonnes of teak, hardwood and other types of timber were seized in 2017-2018FY. The most seizure was from Kachin state, Sagaing region, Bago region and Shan State (South).
The root cause of illegal extraction of timber was related to regional socio-economic status and those who were engaged in illegal trade. With regard to the regional socio-economic situation, local people don’t have access to the official use of timber, firewood and charcoal for livelihood purpose and it is one of the root causes of illegal extraction of timber. Less investment and much profit are also one of the root causes of the occurrence of illegal extraction of timber.
Timber in much demand
In connection with the situation of those who were involved in the illegal trade, illegal extraction of timber occurred as there was much demand from home and neighbouring countries.
The Forest Department, under the control of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation is in the process of implementing environmental conservation and forest functions upholding 11 objectives. The No 5 objective states that efforts must be made to ensure sustainable use and extraction of timber and other forest products and to sell timber enough for the public to build houses. Among the objectives laid down by the MTE, the No 2 objective also states that illegal extraction of timber will be able to be reduced if the MTE is able to sell the timber enough for the citizens of the country to build houses.
(1) Website of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation: www.monerc.gov.mm
(2) Website of Myanma Timber Enterprise: www.myanmatimber.com.mm
(3) 70th-anniversary commemorative magazine of Myanma Timber Enterprise