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The Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) announced a total ban on new logging of teak and other hardwoods in Karenni State, and has outlawed all logging businesses in the territory.
In a statement dated 8 August, the KNPP stated that the decision had been taken at the last meeting of the party’s Central Committee, primarily to ensure the sustainability of the forest in Karenni, officially known as Kayah State, and to prevent natural disasters, which are exacerbated by land degradation.
The committee noted that teak and other hardwood trees were “nearly depleted in the area”, and that there exists very few programmes of reforestation.
KNPP pointed to the devastating effects of recent flooding and landslides as being “due to the over-extraction of natural resources and forest deletion”, and stated that, “Burma is one of the most deforested countries in the world and it is imperative to push forward forest rehabilitation programs more rapidly”.
Deforestation caused by logging and agricultural development is a widespread problem in Burma, but pressure has been mounting to protect forests from traders, both Burmese and foreign. In May 2015, 153 Chinese nationals were sentenced to life imprisonment for illegal logging in Kachin State, however President Thein Sein later pardoned the men.
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