Myanmar forest-cutting continues despite government efforts

The hills of northern Myanmar’s Sagaing region were so legendarily thick with forests that in the days of kings, condemned criminals were ordered into the woods as a death sentence. Today illegal logging has left vast swaths of bare patches, with only a handful of old-growth stands. Despite a temporary ban on all logging by the Southeast Asian country’s new government, the Associated Press found in a trip to the remote region that loggers are still cutting down some of the remaining old trees. The AP also saw loggers illegally chopping up the wood from already felled trees for transportation and sale. Piles of such wood have been confiscated by the government, but villagers said officials can be bribed to let it through. Massive amounts of teak, rosewood and other hardwoods have been illegally cut and exported from Myanmar since 2011. Much of that wood was stripped from the Sagaing region, floated on the Irrawaddy River and transported to neighboring China and India.

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