MYANMAR TO BAN RAW LOG EXPORTS AS OF APRIL 1
Starting April 1, Myanmar will ban the export of raw timber logs in an effort to put conservation above profit. The country has some of Asia’s most significant expanses of forests, but these forests have been decimated by the former military junta’s policies; between 1990 and 2010, forest cover shrank from 58% of total land area to 47%. In addition to the ban, the new reformist government, which took over in 2011, plans to reduce the amount of teak it allows to be removed from forests by 80%. While one forestry ministry official commented that the ban is long overdue, Barber Cho, head of the Myanmar Timber Merchants’ Association, fears that the policy will hurt the forestry industry’s revenue. The industry currently generates about 90% of its export earnings from raw logs, and in the fiscal year to March 2013, the total timber exports brought in more than $1 billion in revenue. For the full story, see http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/03/20/us-myanmar-forests-idUKBREA2J27K20140320.