Chinese Logging Menace
World’s Hottest Biodiversity Spots
The Kachin Post
February 12, 2004 — Chinese logging
project in northern Burma has threatened one of the world’s
most biodiversity spots, said experts.
“One of the world's most exceptional biodiversity hotspots
2 is being plundered by two of the parties, Burma and China,”
said in a statement released from the 7th conference on the Convention
on Biological Diversity held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 2,000 experts
on biodiversity and sustainable development attend the conference
which is being held from February 9 to 20.
Destructive logging industry under the corrupt deals brokered between
wealthy Chinese businessmen and cash-strapped armed insurgent groups
are the main culprit of threatening one of the most valuable pieces
of real estate in the world due in large part to its forests, but
also to its jade, gold and mineral reserves, said the statement.
“Logging in the Kachin State is severe and chaotic, and it
is clear that local population has benefited little in economic
terms,” said Jon Buckrell from Global Witness, a British-based
non-governmental organization, which focuses on the links between
natural resource exploitation and conflict.
The particular concern is the forests of the N’Mai Hku area,
which form a critical watershed for the Irrawaddy River, which is
of strategic importance to both Burma and China. Chinese companies
are carrying out large-scale, unregulated logging and mining operations
on the Burma side, because Chinese government only protect natural
resources on its own side, said the statement.
“It is crucial that the N’Mai Hku Project is halted
immediately: people's livelihoods are being destroyed,” said
Buckrell. “China has started to protect its own environment.
We simply call on them to apply the same principles to their activities
Global Witness’ report ‘A Conflict of Interests: The
uncertain future of Burma’s forests’ points out the
estimate timber export from Kachin State to China’s Yunnan
province is 600,000 m3 a year, worth approximately US$150 million.
The number shows Chinese companies carry out rampant logging in
pristine forest in Kachin State.
The exploitation of Kachin's forests has risen to alarming levels
as a consequence of ceasefire arrangements between the Burmese military
government and local insurgent groups, combined with a growing demand
for timber in China and a countrywide logging ban in China, which
has increased the demand for Burmese timber.
“China must suspend logging activities in Burma immediately
and place a moratorium on the cross border trade in timber,”
said Buckrell. The action will give time for proper planning to
ensure the preservation of the area's outstanding biodiversity and
it is vital that the forest are used for the benefit of the people
of Kachin State, he explained.
In last October, UK based environmental organization Global Witness
released a report ‘A Conflict of Interests: The uncertain
future of Burma’s forests’. The reports revealed the
first time in detail the history of logging in Burma, the reality
of current logging by the ruling military regime, logging by insurgent
groups, rampant logging in ceasefire areas, and the cross-border
trade in particular with China.