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Illegal logging and associated trade in Myanmar: Impacts of government measures to address illegal logging

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Since 2000, the forests of Myanmar – some of the last remaining old growth forests in Southeast Asia – have been cleared at an ever-increasing rate. Between 1990 and 2020, 27% of the country’s forests was lost, with one-third of deforestation directly due to logging. At the same time, the economic importance of forest products has dropped drastically, with share of wood products in total exports down from 59% in 1990 to 0.6% in 2017. So why is deforestation increasing while the contributions of the forest industry to Myanmar’s economy is dropping so precipitously?

This report seeks to answer this question by analyzing publicly available data released by the Union Government through the Myanmar Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (MEITI) and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). It also outlines measures taken by the government to reduce illegal logging, including the 2014 export ban and the 2016 logging moratorium, and discusses their effectiveness in improving the sustainable management of the country’s forests.