From Thu Oct 23 22:15:09 2003
Date: Wed, 8 Oct 2003 09:52:58 -0500 (CDT)
From: “Mark Graffis” <>
Subject: Forestry monitor sounds alarm on logging in Myanmar
Article: 166225
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Forestry monitor sounds alarm on logging in Myanmar

AFP, Terra.Wire, 8 October 2003

Myanmar's forests are being ravaged by logging fueled by voracious demand in China, forestry monitor Global Witness warned in a report on deforestation in the military-ruled state released Wednesday.

China, which borders Myanmar's northeastern Karen and Shan states, has boosted its economic influence with its smaller neighbour in recent years, with Beijing seeing friendship with Myanmar as an important strategic asset.

“Such economic cooperation became increasingly important, following the imposition of a logging ban in Yunnan in 1996 and a nationwide Chinese ban in 1998,” the Global Witness report said.

“It appears that China's concern for the environment ends at the border.” In 2001, legal timber exports were just over 688,000 square cubic metres, while China alone recorded imports of 850,000 square cubic metres, the report said, suggesting rampant illegal felling of trees.

“Logging has led to environmental destruction, particularly in Kachin state where Chinese logging companies have clear-cut vast swathes of virgin forests,” said the report.

The group estimates that the volume of timber exported from Kachin to China's Yunnan is at least 500,000 cubic metres a year.

The logging, controlled by a variety of armed ethnic groups, Myanmar's military and military intelligence wing, is “chaotic” and has led to the increased militarisation of the state, said the report.

“The local population has benefited little in economic terms but the powerful have enriched themselves as the environment, and thereby the prospect for future sustainable development, has been destroyed.” The report also found that border logging and the opium trade are linked.

“Drug traffickers have invested in logging to launder money, and logs have been hollowed out to conceal drugs,” the report said, adding that some drug eradication schemes have been used to justify large-scale logging by providing farmers with alternative income. Myanmar's military rulers are also covering up the extent of logging in the country formerly known as Burma, the report said.

“Commercial logging in areas of central Burma is probably not as destructive as that seen on the China-Burma border, but nevertheless chronic mismanagement has lead to a situation that does not correspond to the picture of sustainability in the forest sector painted by the regime,” it said.