Nearly 1 million acres of forest to be reestablished within a decade

Unspoiled nature in Putao. Photo: Tin Win
Unspoiled nature in Putao. Photo: Tin Win

The ten-year Myanmar Reforestation and Rehabilitation program plans to carry out reforestation across nearly 1 million acres, said U Hla Myo Aung, assistant Director of the Forest Department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.
“This project is planned to cover some 80,000-100,000 acres a year, including establishing forests, nurseries and restoration of trees”, he added.
This trees will be planted in forest reserve areas. In addition to the Forest Department, local residents will develop forests on 700,000 acres, including community and private plantations.
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has ordered the reforestation program begin, noting that Myanmar has the third-worst record for deforestation in the world.
“The elected government has contributed to establish the forest”, said U Hla Myo Aung
Apart from reforestation, this project will also include courses for forest staffs and local residents, he continued. This ten-year programme will be revised after five years. If it does not appear successful, officials will act to change growing methods.
Myanmar’s forest is reported to cover only 42.92 per cent of the the country. This programme aims not to fall below this current per cent, said U Hla Myo Aung.
At present, upper Sagaing Region suffers the worst from illegal forest exploitation, which is also found in Kachin State, Bago Region and Shan State.
Beyond the ten-year-project, the forest department has a plan to carry out community forest projects in over 2.73 million acres. They also will conduct an inventory of the nation’s forests and enforce existing forest laws to combat illegal wood production.
In a bid to export Myanmar’s timber, the Forest Department is preparing to grant Timber Certifications to ensure the quality of exports.
The Forest Department has a labour force of only 9,000 staff. With a view to sustainable development in forest production and maintaining forest conservation, there is a plan for significant expansion of the labour force.

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