Myanmar: one third of the forest cover might be lost

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The Greater Mekong sub region in Southeast Asia might lose one third of its forests in the next two decades if measures of protection won’t be taken, warns the WWF. From the satellite observation, it has been discovered that Myanmar lost nearly 15 percent and 7 million hectares (from 49 million hectares, down to 42), between 2002 and 2009. Even worse, from 1973, the forest cover decreased by 24 percent.

“The Greater Mekong is at a crossroads,” said Peter Cutter, Landscape Conservation Manager with WWF-Greater Mekong. “One path leads to further declines in biodiversity and livelihoods but if natural resources are managed responsibly, this region can pursue a course that will secure a healthy and prosperous future for its people.” “The green economy approach is the choice for a viable future in the Greater Mekong,” added Cutter. “Regional leaders have already affirmed that healthy economic growth goes hand in hand with healthy and productive ecosystems, but fast and effective responses are needed now to avoid permanent environmental degradation.”

Myanmar’s authorities (The Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry) are working on a draft forestry law. Its purpose is to prevent and stop deforestation. In this respect, Myanmar will cease the exports of raw, unprocessed logs as of April 1, 2014.

From a report of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, in 2009, 50-60 percent of the Myanmar population (around 60 million people) depend on forestry and half a million work directly into the industry.

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