A fight to control chainsaws in Myanmar could turn the tide on illegal logging

first_imgForests, Illegal Logging, Illegal Timber Trade, Law Enforcement, Logging, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforests, Tropical Deforestation In remote areas where illegal logging is most rampant, officials struggle with outreach to poor villagers about recently implemented laws that make most chainsaws illegal.Many times faster and more efficient than traditional handsaws and axes, chainsaws are also dangerous tools that can cause serious injury or death.Unregulated chainsaw use is nearly impossible for forestry officials to track or regulate, as most illegal logging is taking place in remote areas that are extremely difficult to reach. ALAUNGDAW KATHAPA NATIONAL PARK, Myanmar – Pyar Aung still remembers the first time he saw a chainsaw. It was a German-made number being used by one of the logging companies operating in the forest around his remote village in Myanmar’s northwest Sagaing region in 2013.“It was so powerful and fast!” recalls 50 year-old Aung, who lives in the tiny village of Mahu. It wasn’t until August 2016 that he got one himself, and today he owns three. Each cost him around $124, though cheaper versions can be purchased in urban centers for about 7 times less. In spite of the law, he said he was never asked to show paperwork to buy the chainsaws, nor were any of his fellow villagers.The claim is surprising given the fact that logging is practically a cottage industry in his community. Among 37 households they own 70 chainsaws. On a recent visit there, they also said they weren’t aware of the fairly new regulation implemented in 2016 that requires them to register their chainsaws with Myanmar’s Forestry Department.Remote locales like this are at the heart of a struggling government campaign to turn the tide on illegal chainsaw use and logging.A villager from Mahu poses with his chainsaw in front of one other source of meager local income: a mat made of dry bamboo. Photo by Ann Wang for Mongabay.Mahu is a stark case in point of difficulties the Burmese government faces in educating disconnected rural populations about chainsaw ownership and use. The village is an isolated island of homes deep in the Patolon Forest Reserve, part of Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park in Myanmar’s Sagaing region. An ASEAN Heritage Park, it is Myanmar’s largest national park, at 1,605 square kilometers (619 square miles).Despite almost non-existent knowledge of safety equipment, training, and protocols, chainsaws are gaining in popularity as the logging tool of choice in Myanmar’s rich forests. The country is the largest supplier of natural teak (Tectona grandis) in the world. Forestry officials say they began to see an uptick in imported chainsaws between 2013 and 2014. That increase, with numbers that are very difficult to track and verify, is likely in the hundreds to thousands per year.That’s bad news for Myanmar’s forests. A chainsaw can cut down a tree four times faster than the more traditional methods of an axe or a handsaw.The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which tracks forest cover globally, notes that between 1990 and 2015, the country already lost nearly 15 million hectares of forest and other wooded land. There’s no official data yet on whether a national logging ban in place from mid-2016 to April 2017 had an impact on forest loss.The geography of locales like Mahu — incredibly remote with limited options for income — contributes to illegal logging. It is completely cut off from the outside world for the 4-month rainy season due to bad roads. The national education system only arrived in the village five years ago, and there is still no electricity nor cell signal. Villagers are motivated by basic economics to own chainsaws for logging to expedite their work.There’s also a demand.Brokers from nearby villages started to show up in Mahu in 2016 in search of wood for sale, around the time that the Burmese government instituted regulations for buying and owning a chainsaw.Freshly cut trees, illegally logged, wait on the riverside wait to be transported from the forest to Mahu for sale. Photo by Ann Wang for Mongabay.Aung says that he can make about $95 per ton of logs. He typically collects 1.5 to 2 tons of wood per week to sell. If the rest of the village logs at a similar pace, they can cut down about 46 tons of wood every week, or over 180 tons per month. If they sell what they log at the rate Aung notes, the village can make at least $17,500 a month. A conservative estimate of annual village income from illegal logging — minus the rainy season — is about $140,000 annually.For generations, villagers here have eked out an existence on meager profit from rice farming and other activities like selling handmade bamboo mats. Logging represents a chance to diversify and amplify income streams.“If we only grow rice, it’s not enough to make a living and that’s why we started cutting trees, but we mostly only log teak,” Aung said. Teak is one of the most valuable tropical hardwood species in the world. “The demand (for wood) is so high.”Regulations and enforcementVillagers in Mahu might claim ignorance about their illegal chainsaws and logging activity, but their actions suggest otherwise. On a recent day in February, everyone stopped logging, disassembled their chainsaws, and hid the parts deep in the forest upon word of an impending Forestry Department inspection.Altered to an inspection by the Forestry Department, villagers from Mahu take a chainsaw apart to hide parts in different locations in the forest. Photo by Ann Wang for Mongabay.Kyaw Minn Htut, founder of Thuriya Sandra Environmental Watch Group, has kept track of Mahu’s chainsaws, which he confirms aren’t registered and were not purchased legally. He has a complex relationship with the villagers.“It was me who reported this village to the forestry department,” Htut said while sitting with residents at their monastery, which also functions as a community hall.  “But I asked the forestry department officers to forgive them, because they have no money to be fined and if you take away their chainsaw, they will have no way of surviving.”Htut is a native of Sagaing state in his early 40s, and has been doing conservation work in Sagaing region since 2003. He is incredibly persistent when it comes to finding and reporting illegal logging. He once spent 10 days in the forest counting unmarked stumps in an area that had been logged and found that the company (whose name he didn’t disclose) had logged 572 extra trees.“Four MTE [Myanma Timber Enterprise] officers and three FD [Forestry Department] officers were fired because of my report,” he claims. Htut’s philosophy is that deforestation is not caused by individual loggers, but by logging companies approved by the MTE, which regulates the industry domestically.“Chainsaws are not the problem, the root of the problem is the policy and the law,” Htut said. “The current one is set up for organizations that are involved in mass production, but not for the people.”When it comes to the activity in Mahu, he wants to help them to legitimately earn income from logging. With his assistance, the villagers have applied to manage the forest surrounding their village, but have not heard back from the forestry department. It’s unlikely they ever will.It’s also just as unlikely that they will stop cutting down trees.“The villagers here at Mahu only cut what they need to survive, they don’t do it to get rich,” Htut said. “Besides what will the villagers feel, if the people not related to this area come and harvest all the valuable wood, but they themselves can’t even do that?”In Mandalay, the nearest urban center for the timber market and commercial goods, people are a bit more savvy about the rules for selling and owning a chainsaw. Along Mandalay’s so-called “iron street” of machinery and tool shops, out of a randomly selected seven shops along a 40-block stretch, only one displayed chainsaws. Others wouldn’t even discuss a sale without proper paperwork. Fears of plainclothes police officers pretending to be customers are top of mind.A vendor shows a chainsaw hidden behind other commercial products in a hardware shop in Mandalay, Myanmar. Photo by Ann Wang for Mongabay.Many other shops take a more subdued approach. Some put the chainsaw blades in the corner, but the rest of the equipment stays hidden in back storage rooms and are only presented on request.“There is a crackdown on chainsaws,” said Ko Ko Win, who manages one such machinery shop. “If you want to sell chainsaws, you need a license, if you want to buy a chainsaw, you also need a license from the forestry department.”Win adds that a obtaining a license to buy a chainsaw involves answering a list of questions such as reasons for the purchase, which trees will be cut down, and the locations where the tool will be used.“It’s a very complicated procedure, I don’t understand the reason behind all this madness,” he said. “But I guess it’s the new government, and it comes with new rules.” The country held its first democratic election in decades in 2015 and brought human rights icon Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, the National League for Democracy, to power.In June 2016 Myanmar’s Forestry Department amended its forestry laws include a policy on chainsaw registration: Whoever uses a chainsaw without permission can be sued, face up to two years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $15. They also created a committee with police officers, local and regional forestry department officers, and township administrators to enforce chainsaw rules and regulations. That includes monthly reports from forestry departments in each township, district, division and state to headquarters in Naypyidaw.Combating the myriad aspects of illegal logging in Myanmar is already a huge job for authorities. Just as the national ban lifted in mid-April, officials announced that in the past year they seized 55,000 tons of illegal timber and 2,600 vehicles and pieces of machinery. Arrests of timber smugglers included 11 foreigners and 8,310 Burmese nationals.Import headachesMyanmar is still in the early stages of regulating chainsaws, especially when it comes to import rules.Officer Phyo Zin Mon Naing is assistant director of Myanmar’s Forestry Department at Naypyidaw and oversees chainsaw registration. He said in an interview that he’s been working on issues regarding chainsaw registration since 2013, but prior to that there were simply no laws or regulations for chainsaws. In 2014, the government started to ask chainsaw users to register equipment, but the system was inefficient and difficult to enforce.The current procedure, which includes import laws, was put into place after discussion with various departments and the central government.A villager from Mahu cuts down a tree using a midsize chainsaw. A chainsaw can cut down a tree four times faster than an axe and handsaw. Photo by Ann Wang for Mongabay.The complex procedure requires importers to submit an inquiry for a permit to import chainsaws and present their import license and company registration to the Ministry of Commerce. The Ministry of Commerce then submits it to the forestry department for a recommendation letter. In order to issue a recommendation letter, the forestry department has to first check the chainsaw type, country of origin, import method, the number of chainsaws in the current stock, a list of chainsaw distributors by the company and other detailed information. The importer isn’t technically allowed to sell their chainsaws if they don’t agree to monthly reports on their distribution and stock.Naing believes that this system, which targets importers, distributors, and users of chainsaws, is feasible. For example, they once received an application from a machinery shop that wanted to import 20,000 chainsaws. The request was rejected.“Currently, there are a total of 1,281 legal chainsaws in the country,” Naing said from the most recently available chart in January 2017. “Sagaing has the most registered chainsaw at 423 units, the second is Mon State with 178 units.”The numbers clearly aren’t exact, though. For example, the number of known chainsaws in the Sagaing region alone would be 16 percent higher if the units in Mahu village were registered.Yet despite known pockets of lawlessness like Mahu, Naing is confident.“Now we have control over chainsaws in this country,” he said, adding that between 2014 to the end of 2016, they seized a total of 746 illegal chainsaws. Most of those come from individuals owners and are handed over to the MTE.Problems with enforcementA major problem with monitoring illegal chainsaws is lack of control in insurgency areas, especially Kachin state in Northern Myanmar. Kachin shares a long border with China and is largely controlled by Kachin Independence organization (KIO) and its armed group Kachin Independent Army (KIA). They have an estimated 8,000 troops and are believed to be involved in illegal logging.“We believe they have a large logging problem, but we don’t have details,” Naing said, adding that they have no communication regarding chainsaw registry with members of KIO. “But we work with the Myanmar military to seize illegal timber in those areas.”They face myriad challenges, some of which could be life and death.“This work is difficult and very dangerous, officers at the forestry department don’t have guns, we have no security, how do we protect ourselves?” said Naing. “We just have our pen.”In fact, Naing doesn’t think there is a clear connection between seized timber and registered chainsaws, especially since the registry is so new. The forestry department is also still in the process of getting its staff and other government agencies up to speed on the registry’s use.If it proves effective, it could have an impact.“If we control chainsaws, it will reduce illegal logging in the future,” Naing said. He added that one way they are doing this is through outreach programs, which include group information sessions on how to register chainsaws and the impact to the environment from illegal logging. In January 2017, he said they held 286 chainsaw registry outreach sessions across the country.Despite complaints over the complicated procedure to obtain a chainsaw, Naing sees the approach as standard.“If you import a car from a foreign country you have to submit paperwork, so importing chainsaws should be treated the same way,” he said. He added that he thinks the forest coverage rate is directly related to number of chainsaws. “There are so few officers at the forestry department but so many loggers in Myanmar, how do we control the situation?” he asked. “We must do it, we must register the chainsaws.”A hopeful future, at a costIn Mahu, logging is slowly transforming the lives of the villagers, although not everyone can yet afford to purchase a chainsaw. Khin Mg Htwe is 32 years old, tan and lean from years of rice farming before he turned to working as a timber porter.“I don’t know how to operate a chainsaw, and I can’t afford one yet, but I’m happy they are cutting wood so I can make some income by transporting the timber out of our village,” Htwe said.Transporting logs with cows that are usually for farming near Mahu. The porter can usually earn almost $4 per pair haul with a pair of cows. Photo by Ann Wang for Mongabay.The 4-hour round trip by foot to the nearest village involves tying the timber to his two cows and a two-day rest after each trip. He makes a mere $4 each time.Thar Kyi is a 32-year-old father of four, and is recognized as a chainsaw expert by other villagers, who joke that he cuts the straightest line with chainsaws. Like Htwe, Kyi doesn’t own a chainsaw and is hired by chainsaw owners for $4 per day to operate their machinery. He said that part of his motivation is based on family obligations.“I have to pay $5 for my kids [per child] to go to school per month,” Kyi said. Though primary education is free in Myanmar, teachers often ask for extra money in rural areas to offset the cost of uniforms and books.A villager from Mahu poses with his chainsaw in front of one other source of meager local income: a mat made of dry bamboo. Photo by Ann Wang for Mongabay.Even though activist Htut is devoted to conservation and to preventing illegal logging, he is sympathetic to the villagers.“I will never ask them to stop logging, because I have no other money-making options to offer them yet,” Htut said. “Before they used to focus more on cultivating rice, now they spend more time on logging and they have to buy rice to eat during the rainy season.”He doesn’t believe that stricter enforcement of chainsaw regulations will stop the loggers.“They will just go back to using axes and handsaws, the illegal logging will continue and so will the bribery to related governmental officials,” he said.Banner image: A villager from Mahu cuts down a tree using a midsize chainsaw. A chainsaw can cut down a tree four times faster than an axe and handsaw. Photo by Ann Wang for Mongabay.Ann Wang is a foreign correspondent and photojournalist based in Myanmar. You can find her on Instagram at AnnWang077.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Genevieve Belmakercenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

[BGL LIGUE] Le Progrès en mode machine

first_imgTrois minutes totalement folles!Les coéquipiers d’Aldin Dervisevic sont touchés moralement et gênés par un adversaire dur à bouger. La présence sur le côté droit de Bourtal représente bien une rampe de lancement pour les Vert et Blanc, mais la frappe croisée de l’attaquant de l’USH lèche la base du poteau de Flauss (37e). À la mi-temps, on se dit que les jeux sont faits et que le Progrès va tranquillement rentrer à la maison la besace bien pleine. À coup sûr, personne n’imagine le scénario qui va suivre. Piqués au vif, les locaux vont se réveiller de fort belle façon et y croire en l’espace de deux minutes complètement folles. C’est tout d’abord Lamotte entré en jeu à la mi-temps à la place de Wang, qui voit sa frappe des 20 mètres finir sa course dans le petit filet (1-3, 70e) avant que Yala au terme d’un exploit personnel au milieu de trois défenseurs ne trompe la vigilance de Flauss (2-3, 71e).Et Yala est tout près de porter le coup fatal à une défense du Progrès aux abois durant trois minutes (73e). Le leader, qui n’avait pas encaissé de but durant 160 minutes en championnat, est tout proche d’en prendre trois en trois minutes!Mais malgré tout, il va savoir faire le dos rond et inscrire un quatrième but au meilleur moment. Sur un cafouillage dans la surface, Muratovic d’une frappe à mi-hauteur trompe la vigilance de Pleimling (2-4, 74e). Le Progrès peut de nouveau bomber le torse puisqu’il va même anéantir définitivement les derniers espoirs locaux sur une formidable accélération balle au pied de Muratovic et un centre parfait au second poteau le plat du pied de Tekiela (2-5, 81e).Dans la foulée, Yala s’offre un deuxième exploit dans la défense niederkornoise (3-5, 83e). Insuffisant.G. T./LQ Niederkorn s’est fait légèrement peur à Hostert (3-5), dimanche, mais a surtout fait étalage, de nouveau, d’une force de frappe offensive plus qu’évidente. Les hommes de Roland Vrabec ont quand même inscrit la bagatelle de neuf buts en deux rencontres.Les joueurs du Progrès ne vont pas ménager leurs forces durant le premier quart d’heure pour parfaitement gérer leur affaire. Avec un jeu qui penche dès les premières minutes sur le côté gauche, De Almeida provoque et se crée des brèches sur ses premières accélérations. Il ne faut guère plus de sept minutes à l’attaquant du Progrès pour se trouver à la conclusion d’un centre de Françoise et donner l’avantage à son camp (0-1). Avec des décalages sur les côtés et du jeu long parfaitement distillé par Thill, les ardeurs locales vont vite être refroidies avec un deuxième but de la tête de Karayer sur une belle offrande de De Almeida (0-2, 11e). Une minute auparavant, Hostert avait déjà dû une fière chandelle à son gardien sur une tête de Vogel.À 0-2, la partie tourne alors définitivement à l’avantage d’un ensemble niederkornois au sein duquel il devient de plus en plus facile de faire circuler le ballon face à un adversaire trop tendre notamment dans le secteur offensif malgré la détermination de Stumpf et Bourtal. Pour les hommes de René Peters, le score va encore basculer du mauvais côté peu avant la demi-heure. Une nouvelle incursion dans la surface du remuant De Almeida profite à Françoise qui, libre de tout marquage, propulse le ballon au fond (0-3, 29e). Partagerlast_img read more


first_imgWell-known Newtowncunningham man Con Holmes is going walkies again in his bare feet!This time Con is walking 11 kms from Letterkenny to Newtown on Friday, June 22nd at 5pm. Again Con is doing this in aid of NCDI & The Breast Unit at Letterkenny Hospital.Sponsor cards are availble from Kathleen at the NCDI office 074 91 56898 or by phoning Betty at 087 2905 946. If not there will be a bucket collection on the day.Con is partly raising funds for the Breast Unit in recognition of the work of the unit, Donegal Action Against Cancer and also the fact that we have four daughters and at present four grand-daughters.This walk is a great opportunity for folk to come along join in for a wee bit of the walk, do the whole thing or do what suits you on the day. People are invited to the walk you can keep your shoes on, off or whatever suits you.There will also be a wee cuppa tea & a piece at Coyle’s Bar & Restaurant in Newtowncunningham when Con arrives back there. CON BARES ALL TO WALK THE WALK FOR CHARITY! was last modified: June 2nd, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:bare-feetcancerCon Holmeslast_img read more