News is circulating that the Forest Department in Myanmar is planning to allow harvesting of some mature (over 30-year-old) commercial teak plantations to partially compensate for the logging ban in the Bago Mountain Range.
Analysts write that the quality of plantation teak will not satisfy quality requirements in international markets. As it is not clear what natural teak harvest levels will be in 2018-19 it is difficult to assess how this will impact industry.
Myanmar is said to have around 2.2 million acres of forest plantations about half of which are of commercial value according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.
There are approximately 1.2 million acres of forest commercial plantations in Myanmar (approx. 50% of the total) a further 30% are plantations in catchment areas and around 16% are for other uses. In addition there are nearly 450,000 acres of firewood plantations and 6,480 acres of mangrove plantations. However, the accuracy of these figures cannot be confirmed as some plantations have been badly managed or illegally cut.
In related news, the online ‘Irrawaddy Media’ is reporting that Myanma Timber Enterprise (MTE) will harvest only 10,620 teak trees and 193,412 other timber trees in the current fiscal year of 2018-19 although it has quota of 19,200 teak trees and 592,330 timber trees annually.