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Will Liberalization of Myanmar Bring Ruin to Its Vast Forests?

Environment  (tags: world, politics, Myanmar, nature, ecosystems, environment, destruction, conservation, humans, protection, wildlife, habitat, habitatdestruction )

- 1986 days ago -
Now, Myanmar is undergoing a stunning democratic transformation, its citizens are granted more freedoms, and the world is opening up to them. With this opening up comes a relaxing of trade restrictions, which may unfortunately bring disaster to Myanmar's

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Past Member (0)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 3:32 am
I thought some of the market was to open, but some things were not to open, namely those aspects controlled by the military that includes the forestry and mining industries.

pam w (139)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 8:40 am
There are ancient hardwood forests in Burma/Myanmar. And millions of animals living in them.

I sincerely hope someone is thinking....

Theodore Shayne (56)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 12:32 pm
Let us hope not.

Sheila D (28)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 3:29 pm
If the new democratic government is taking the environment seriously, then, hopefully, they will be finding other uses for their forests besides cutting them down. There are so many resources available and I would hope they look into as many as possible before making earth changing decisions.

Arthur Riding (32)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 5:53 pm
Actually, the ruin of Myanmar's vast forests have been going on for some time, indeed has been accelerating, liberalisation will only make it worse, not start it. I live much of the year in neighbouring Thailand and also spent 2 weeks in Myanmar last year and it was clear to see, when flying over parts of Myanmar, the large gaps in the forest cover where deforestation has already taken place and erosion has set in. What the West often forgets is that although sanctions were in place from Western Governments, few Asian countries paid much more than lip service, if that, to the sanctions, in particular China, Myanmar's main trading partner. China's economic & construction boom has meant huge demand for wood products from Myanmar. Teak-wood in particular is especially prized in Asia for furniture and construction (strength plus good termite resistance) and after Thailand imposed strict regulations on teak logging (after most of its teak forests had already been destroyed!) many years ago, it was Myanmar who became the main supplier of teak to Asia. Indeed Thailand has already been worrying about adequate teak supplies from Myanmar due to excessive logging in Myanmar and not just teak but other woods as well. So, liberalisation won't start the process of deforestation, it has already been going on for decades. Myanmar is a big country and there is still plenty of wood left but at current rates one wonders for how much longer.

Don Schwarz (5)
Saturday November 17, 2012, 7:47 pm
This is looking bad. It has happened in so many other Asian countries. Perhaps the eventual end of the tiger when all the wood is cut? I hate being so pessimistic.

Lloyd H (46)
Sunday November 18, 2012, 7:02 am
Myanmar has a another highly prized, highly profitable, easily portable and smuggled natural resource; "Burmese Rubies". And ruby mining/smuggling on large or small scale has the potential for as much environmental damage and animal life endangerment as the lumber industry but with a far larger cash pay off.
The one thing that may be more of a deterrent than West cares to admit is the cultural view of the people of Myanmar toward nature and animals that is different than that of the West. I base part of my hope in the people of Myanmar not only in the major role played by Buddhist monks and nuns in the opposition to the junta but their historic opposition to colonialism and its treatment of natural resources. In short I guess that my hope is based on the fact that the History of Burma/Myanmar has been either free of or in direct opposition to the evil influences of Adam Smith and his " The Wealth of Nations" turning of greed from sin to Grace of God and the Ayn Rand glorification of Vulture Capitalism and demonization of social responsibility.

Kristina J (10)
Sunday November 18, 2012, 8:21 am
This is unfortunately, one of the many high costs of 'democracy', where everything is on sale to the highest bidder. I visited Myanmar last year, and I found it to be a very beautiful place. It is true that there is a lot of 'poverty' there, but the people seemed happier and more content than many people in the west, whose lives have been ruined in the name of grotesque consumerism and endless desire for more crap. I was upset to hear that they just passed a law in Myanmar, allowing foreign companies to own more the 50% of a business there, which will inevitably cause rapid acceleration in the raping, pillaging, and westernizing of the country.

It was incredibly refreshing to walk throughout Yangon without seeing a single 7/11, Tesco, Wal-Mart, McDonald's, or KFC. I hardly consider these companies to be indicators of prosperity, as all they do is poison the people and create endless waste. I hope to return in the near future, as I know this country will be absolutely obliterated by greed-obsessed capitalists. It is true the the Junta was very oppressive, inflicting undue poverty and terror on anyone who opposed them. I am glad that the people are finally gaining some freedom and upward mobility, but I fear that they will get more than they bargained for, and lose touch with the simple pleasures in life that have allowed them to enjoy life in spite of the many problems they faced in the past. I hope what is left of the military will use its power and control to protect the citizens from external exploitation, but in this world, money talks.

David C (133)
Sunday November 18, 2012, 10:39 am
it might, it might not

Sharon W. (4)
Sunday November 18, 2012, 11:21 am
Oh, I did not know anything about that. Thank you!

greenplanet e (155)
Sunday November 18, 2012, 4:26 pm
That is really tragic. All the nations of the world should get together and agree to protect the remaining indigenous forests, and re/plant more.

Past Member (0)
Monday November 19, 2012, 2:16 pm
Do not allow the forests of Myanamar to be destroyed.
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