Myanmar to plant over 24 mln tree saplings in 2023 for reforestation-Xinhua

Myanmar to plant over 24 mln tree saplings in 2023 for reforestation

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2023-07-19 22:12:15

YANGON, July 19 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar will plant 24.619 million tree saplings this year as part of its concerted efforts to combat deforestation, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.

The tree saplings will be planted across state-owned commercial forests, forests designated for industrial raw materials, and critical mangrove areas spanning the Southeast Asian country, the ministry's forest department said on Tuesday.

The extensive tree-planting initiative is aimed at safeguarding against soil erosion, protecting residents from natural disasters such as cyclones and storms, and contributing to Myanmar's economy by exporting wood products, explained an official from the forest department.

"To date, we have planted over 20 million tree saplings, achieving over 90 percent of our targeted tree growth for this year," said U Myint Naing Oo, assistant director of the Forest Department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.

The majority of state-owned forests are located in Bago and Ayeyarwady regions, while the country's mangroves are concentrated in Ayeyarwady and Tanintharyi regions and Rakhine state, he said, adding that the department was employing different tree species according to specific locations, such as mangroves in coastal areas and teaks and ironwood trees in commercial forest areas.

Deforestation has been a concern, particularly in the central part of Myanmar, where local communities resort to downing trees for firewood. Additional factors contributing to deforestation include the expansion of agricultural lands, urban development and illegal logging, the official said.

While the forest department is actively working towards forest conservation, it acknowledged that its efforts alone are insufficient to protect all the forest areas, urging residents to help safeguard forests, which play a crucial role in society's well-being.

Myanmar, as one of the most resource-rich countries in Southeast Asia, has seen its forest coverage drop to about 42 percent in 2020 from over 57 percent in 1990, official figures showed.

The country has adopted a 10-year reforestation project, initiated during the 2017-18 fiscal year and set to continue until the 2027-28 fiscal year. Until now, approximately 45 percent of the project has been completed, the official said.

In 2022, Myanmar planted 23.57 million tree saplings throughout the country.