LONDON - A new report by Environmental Investigation Agency shows widespread corruption in the logging and exporting by Myanmar of teak and other woods.
"Data Corruption: Exposing the True Scale of Logging in Myanmar," claims 72 percent of log shipments from 2000-2013 were unauthorized and unrecorded — a value of $5.7 billion. Teak is the most widely exported of the country's timber assets.
“The government’s official data on forestry and timber exports reveals endemic illegal logging and timber smuggling – crimes only possible through institutional corruption on a huge scale,” said Faith Doherty, EIA Forest Campaign Leader.
Official figures from Myanmar's Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry were published March 10 by Myanmar's Eleven Media group. While official data shows 6.5 million m3 of timber exports from 11 million m3 of harvest, EIA said its analysis showed an export volume of 2.2 and 3.5 times the volume of timber exports, "revealing a black hole of between 8 and 16 million m3 during the period."
Although Mynamar has instituted a log export ban, effective April 1, environmentalists say it might not be enough and a greater transparency in forestry management needs to be implemented.
“EIA research shows that these crimes have been occurring throughout the country, including in areas fully under the control of the Myanmar Timber Enterprise. By proposing a log export ban from April 1, 2014, the Government of Myanmar is acknowledging that vast amounts of the country’s forests raw material in the form of logs have been looted and sold at less value than they are worth. The log export ban in itself is just not enough. More needs to be done,” Doherty said.
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