Sustainable use of forests

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  • Since the time Myanmar was ruled by kings and up till 2015, people were chopping trees and gathering wood from the Bago Yoma Mountain Range. Recently, teak plantations were set up for commercial purposes to both supplement demand and counter deforestation.
    In Paukkaung Township of Bago Region, 36,080 acres of teak plantations were set up between 1981 and 2015. Most of the plantations declined due to various reasons, but now, under the Myanmar Reforestation and Rehabilitation Programme (MRRP), they are being salvaged and are likely to be re-established.
    We can evaluate the development and progress of teak plantations by analyzing the current situation of one that was set up a hundred years ago. In addition, we will also be able to estimate the prospects for future plantations.
    Since long, forestry experts have been extracting natural forest products, setting up plantations, and utilizing human resources in such a manner that they leave the least environmental impact, while simultaneously gauging their suitability by size.
    If we look into the teak plantation on plot No. 20 of the South Nawin forest reserve, we will find that it covered an area of about 80 acres in 1918 and then 80 acres were added in 1919, 30 acres in 1920, and 78 acres in 1921. Only 268 acres were planted in total. A census conducted in 2003 showed there were 7,346 teak trees on the 268 acres, of which 5,663 trees were about 4 feet or larger in diameter, indicating the fertility of the land.
    The Myanma Timber Enterprise cleared 243 acres of that plantation in 2003 and produced 5,152.07 tonnes of wood, which means each acre produced an average of 20 tonnes.
    Likewise, across the country, forest areas also significantly dwindled because of legal and illegal logging coupled with firewood and charcoal production.
    Forests can grow and flourish without human beings. They can regenerate. But, human beings cannot survive without trees and the ecosystem. So, forest conservation means protecting natural resources and humans.
    The success of afforestation efforts would help ensure that future generations extract forest products without damaging the natural environment.
    The establishment and extension of forest areas inside and outside the forest reserves and natural forest areas is a major task before the country
    Deforestation-induced natural disasters have killed people as well as wildlife. So, the government and the people have become aware of the need to protect the ecosystem and forests.
    Hence, we should step up our efforts to prevent illegal logging and implement short-term and long-term plans after reviewing current policies and rules and procedures.
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