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Illegal timber trade on China-Myanmar border gets serious

06-05-2012 11:11 BJT

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Trucks of illegally logged timber continue to pour across the border, despite efforts by China to halt the process.

Along the border of China and Myanmar, piles of teak and hongmu logs attest to the booming timber trade.

In the town of Ruili, timber mills are flourishing. In a single day, dozens of trees come to the mill as logs. They're to become luxurious tables, chairs and furniture, often exported overseas.

Xie Wenhua, furniture shop manager, said, "Because here we are close to Myanmar. The wood from Myanmar is cheaper when it is transported here from across the border. It's cheap, but it's still real quality."

But while the business is good, it's also illegal. In most areas of China, the crackdown on the illegal timber trade has pushed most Chinese mills to process soft woods.

But in Ruili, hard wood logs razed from Burmese forests are plundered for use in the domestic and global furniture industry.

Charles Bedford, the Nature Conservancy, said, "You know, the old Chinese saying, 'the mountains are high and the Emperor is far away' applies particularly well in this case. It's a very long way from Beijing and even the best intentions of the forestry officials in Beijing can sometimes take a long time to trickle down into enforcement at the local level."

In the last few years, China has pledged to tackle the problem of illegal logging... both in China and across its borders. Yet to completely eradicate illegal logging, it's tougher than it seems.

Charles Bedford, the Nature Conservancy, said, "Probably the toughest issue to tackle and to solve is how you work in communities where a single log can support a family for a year, or for multiple years."

The challenge, according to Bedford, is to encourage poor families to protect rather than plunder the forests for income.

Editor:Wang Chuhan |Source: CNTV.CN

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