Reinforcing Forest Department for Maintenance

02 December 2019

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations U.N.FAO, there are about 31.77 million hectares of forests in Myanmar. An average of 372,250 hectares or 0.95% of forests has been lost annually between 1990 and 2010. The organization states that within the period of 20 years, around 7,445,000 ha (hectares) or 19.0% of the total forests have been cleared in Myanmar. Myanmar is one of the top ten countries in the world where the highest deforestations are happening and its rank is seven. Therefore planting trees and maintaining the green forest is very much essential in Myanmar lest the consequences of climate change be far harsh to bear as Myanmar is also one of the most natural disaster affected nations in the world.

Therefore Amyotha Hluttaw representatives at its second time 14th regular session on 29th November discussed on proper training for the staff of Forest Department with the help of World Bank, ADB and World Wildlife Fund (WFF) in its capacity, functions, ethics and in using of facilities and equipment. The proposal to urge the government in reinforcing the forest department with proper training and equipment for the maintenance of the forest was first proposed by U Sa Khin Zaw Lin, Hluttaw representative of Ayeyarwady Region Constituency (2).

Discussing at Hluttaw meeting Major Htet Lin, Tatmadaw representative said, “Some of the main reasons for deforestation in our nation is slash-and-burn farming, increasing area of agriculture, the usage of charcoal for fuels, excessive production of timber, illegal logging, encroaching forestry area, road construction and expanding area of village and city, the construction of dams for agricultural purpose and the burning of forest. However we fail to stop deforestation Myanmar, there is no long term project from the government for maintenance, no proper procedures in timber production, due to limited human resources the forest department staff are not able to monitor the forests properly. The production of the timber more than the number of trees annually also affects deforestation severely which results in the decline number of some valued trees and the value of the forest. Therefore it is very important to carry out the work more carefully than ever where we preserve the forest, meeting the need of the public and the rule of law is put into action”.

Dr. Naw Chris Tun, Hluttaw representative of Kayin State Constituency (7) also discussed, “Forest is where all the living beings are depending upon, it also contributes a lot to the national economic interest of a nation at the same time keep the balance of nature. Few decades ago our nation possessed one of the largest tropical rain forests among other ASEAN countries with 70% of forest covering us but now it has come down to just 43%. Every year we lose 1.2% of the forest. The related Ministry has its own project and plan to reduce the amount of deforestation but till today we have not seen any improvement but continuous decline of forestation. Therefore we need to take the proposal of U Sa Khin Zaw Lin seriously and act properly”.

In response to the discussion Dr. Ye Myint Swe, Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation said that in order to preserve and maintain the forest, efforts to tackle the impacts of climate change and also keep the international commitments related to forestry, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation has projected a 10-year plan in the fiscal year of 2017-18. The government is also collaborating with international organizations both government and non-government in tackling deforestation and keeping the forest green. From 2016 to 2019, a total of 31 projects have been carried out successfully which included development of human resources. Till October 2019 total 33 projects were in the midst of work and it also includes both human resources development and research programs. The government is also working on investment program for the development of forest department and forestry with the collaboration of World Bank.

In the end of discussion, Hluttaw approved the proposal of U Sa Khin Zaw Lin.

Photo Credit - Amyotha Hluttaw