Friday, July 21, 2017

China-funded reforestation effort slated for Magwe

To combat the effects of illegal logging and deforestation, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation will partner with China to implement a new ecological project in Magwe Region, said Union Minister U Ohn Win.

A large hill near the Chinese border stands cleared of timber by slash-and-burn methods. Photo: EPAA large hill near the Chinese border stands cleared of timber by slash-and-burn methods. Photo: EPA

The Chinese-Myanmar Friendship Forest project was launched at an October 30 ceremony in Yangon. China plans to put forward K500 million to help rebuild the cooperative forest at the Ngamin Reserved Forest in Taungdwingyi township, Magwe Region.

According to Chinese ambassador Hong Liang, the initial Chinese input is set to fund the replanting of 42,000 trees over 120 acres by 2017.

In addition, the Department of Forestry plans to implement a Myanmar Reforestation Program alongside the friendship forest starting in 2017 through 2026, said the department’s director, U Myo Min.

“The forest initiative will take place in the Ngamin Reserved Forest,” he said. “Currently, we can’t say the exact details as we’re in the midst of signing a memorandum of understanding.”

The Myanmar Reforestation Plan includes 1,420,000 acres of land across the public, private and communal spheres: 350,000 acres for government use, 300,000 for private sectors and 770,000 for a community-planted forest.

Assuring that the Department of Forestry will meet this long-term goal to repopulate Myanmar’s once-vibrant forests, U Myo Min said, “Both organisations and individuals’ donations to plant trees help to support the reforestation of Myanmar.”

Myanmar had the third-highest annual rate of forest reduction, just behind deforestation-plagued Brazil and Indonesia, according to the Global Forest Resources.

Since 2010, Myanmar has lost more than 546,000 hectares (over 1.3 million acres) of forest on average each year, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said in a 2015 report.

The chunk of forest lost annually is about the size of fellow ASEAN country Brunei, and represents about 2 percent of the Myanmar’s total forest cover.

Reforestation efforts have been flagged as a way to stem the rapid loss as well as being a cost-effective measure to counter seasonal flooding.