YANGON, MYANMAR -Access to lumber from teak, acacia, bamboo, ironwood and michelia champaca could improve as Myanmar rejoins the world community. The wood species are growing in the dense Burmese tropical forests that cover almost half the country.
After a 1962 coup, the Burmese economy has become one of the least developed in the world. Burma’s GDP stands at $43 billion, according to Wikipedia. But since it held a popular vote this year, Myanmar, as Burma is formally known, has received encouraging overtures from the U.S. State Department, including a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Myanmar's slow economic growth contributed somewhat to the preservation of its forests, including dense tropical growth and valuable teak in lower Burma. At the same time, illegal logging continued, with sales to, and through, China carried on. The military rulers generated foreign exchange with lumber sales, and traded logging rights to fund a multi-billion dollar relocation of the Myanmar capital.
In addition to natural areas of acacia, bamboo and ironwood, coconut and betel palm have been introduced. In the highlands of the north, oak and pine cover much of the land, though heavy logging since a new 1995 forestry law went into effect has significantly reduced forest acreage, Wikipedia says.
Myanmar has beens famed for its teak wood for centuries. The British established shipyard there in the 18th century after depleting their own oak forests.
The forest area with significant teak resources cover about 15 million acres. The annual potential yield of teak is believed to be somewhere around 0.3 million hoppus tons (0.6 million cubic meters). Myanmar annually exports an average of 110,000 hoppus tons in log form and another 80,000 tons in value added form. Among exporters is Linwin, which sells finger jointed panels, and teak furniture.
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