Since the late 2000s, the global timber trade has undergone emerging legality requirements on imported timber products in major consumer countries. As a key country in supplying tropical hardwood, Myanmar's potential to participate in expanding regulated markets rests on its capacity to hold accountability for the legal origin of timber products, which requires greater transparency of the supply chain and traceability of products, and supportive proof of legal claims.
Against this backdrop, this study was undertaken to enhance the production and trade of legally harvested timber in Myanmar by examining legal frameworks and measures and identifying challenges ahead. Based on the desk review research, the study discussed forest classification, timber sources (e.g., selective logging, forest conversion, plantation, etc.), and supply chains. It also examined log marking and paper-based systems to track the legal origin.
The study identified that the current systems help trace logs from log yards of private industries to a township of harvest. In addition, to increase transparency, the government has published production data from main timber sources and opened relevant supply chain documents to the public. Such efforts can promote legal timber production and trade, delivering positive signals to concerned actors. On the other hand, the absence of production data from Natural Forest conversion may undermine the overall efforts of the forestry sector in Myanmar. In addition, the accountability of the legal origin of timber products needs to consider not only locations where timber was harvested, but also focus on the types of timber source and forest since each source and/or forest type may associate with particular risks, considerations, and implications for a legal basis.