Status of Tropical Forest Management 2005

Asia & the Pacific




Myanmar once boasted an exemplary system of forest management, particularly in its large area of teak forests, but in recent decades there has been significant deforestation and forest degradation. Timber production almost doubled in the ten years to 2003, and the Forest Department lacks sufficient resources to fully implement the silvicultural system or enforce regulations, particularly in remote border areas. Community forestry also faces a number of challenges, such as the lack of decentralization in forestry administration. Nevertheless, about half the country is still forested and SFM remains within reach, given the surmounting of political, administrative and economic obstacles.

Key points

  • Myanmar has an estimated 13.0 million hectares of natural tropical forest in its PFE, of which 9.70 million are designated for production and 3.30 million for protection. Myanmar also has about 710,000 hectares of planted forests, 35% of which are teak.
  • Many of Myanmar's forests are becoming degraded, exacerbated by a lack of law enforcement, particularly in remote regions.
  • At least 290,000 hectares of semi-natural teak forest in the production PFE are being managed sustainably, but insufficient information was available to assess the management of the bulk of the production PFE. Nor could an estimate be made of the extent to which the protection PFE is so managed.
  • A well-tested silvicultural system exists for Myanmar's teak forests, but the extent to which it is being implemented is unclear.
  • The Ministry of Forestry has primary responsibility for implementing the national forest policy, which was instituted in 1995.
  • Some of the most significant obstacles in the way of implementing SFM are institutional. These include chronic budget shortages affecting the Forest Department, very limited private-sector involvement, insufficient well-trained personnel, and a lack of effective participatory processes.
  • Total production of industrial roundwood was an estimated 4.24 million m3 in 2003.
  • Myanmar has established protected areas and prepared plans for expanding the protected area system and for improving biodiversity conservation, but no information was available on implementation.