Deforestation in Myanmar

Forestation in Burma

The Myanmar woods are in trouble. The deforestation in Myanmar has been an environmental problem since colonial times. Recently, however, deforestation has increased rapidly. Wood exports and the population are the main factors in deforestation in Myanmar.

Burma is the third most important place for the deforestation rates, says the UN.

Myanmar's woods are in difficulty. With two new accounts showing that the fast decline in arboriculture over the past five years has been so serious that Myanmar is one of the worlds most devastated deforested areas. Myanmar has been losing more than 546,000 ha of rainforest on annual basis on averages since 2010, according to a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization survey.

Losses every year are about the same as ASEAN Brunei and have reached the dimensions of Equatorial Guinea in the last five years. Nearly 2 per cent of the country's woodland area, compared to 2010 level, has been reduced every year or 8.5 per cent in the five years.

Burma had the third highest rainforest depletion rates annually, just behind deforested Brazil and Indonesia, according to the Global Forests Resources Assessment 2015 published on September 7. Losing such extensive forests could have disastrous effects and make the land even more susceptible to the onset of harsh climatic conditions, which include more serious floods, droughts and illness.

A number of weather forecasters have even attributed the dramatic flooding this year to changes in the use of the country and, above all, to the decline in forest management. They also provide essential environment-related sevices such as cleaner fresh and fresh sea waters, the preservation of biological diversity and the fight against global warming," said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva. Myanmar is already one of the countries most at risk of climatic disasters according to many climatic models.

Myanmar leads the ranking of the most endangered countries in the UN risk model. The deforestation only increases these vulnerability by helping to deteriorate the water divide, facilitate ground erosion, facilitate run-off and flooding and disrupt the ecosystem's normal watercourse. Whereas the forests occupied an estimation of 65% of the land in 2000, this figure was cut to 45% in 2015 according to FAO assessments.

Changes in forestry resources are usually due to non-forestry factors such as urbanization, demand for farmland, coal and steel production or infrastructural developments, the FAO said. The Greater Mekong region is home to some of the richest species of exotic rainforest and is exposed to one of the most severe deforestations, according to a special Global Forestry Watch survey released last weekend.

The University of Maryland observatory found that the mean amount of trees lost in the Mekong - which includes Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam and China - increased more than fivefold between 2001 and 2014. It also notes that Myanmar's forest industry has directly employed about 36,000 direct workers and generated $254 million in economic output.

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