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Deforestation in Tanintharyi

I rode my motorbike from Naypyitaw to Dawei at the beginning of 2020. This was a trip I had made many times before, so I was really surprised to see so many changes once I exited from Mawlamyine and started towards Tanintharyi. There were piles and piles of chopped trees on the sides of the road. Trucks of all sizes were transporting logs up and down the main road. And it was not only visual changes, but as I travelled along the road I could hear the sound of chainsaws.

Read the article below about the major changes happening to the forests of Tanintharyi and complete the sentences with NO MORE than ONE WORD from the reading.

As always, check your incorrect answers and try and learn from your errors!

  1. In the past, the Tanintharyi region has avoided ecological exploitation because of its _________ .

  2. Currently, __________ in the region has meant that plans for two national parks have not been implemented.

  3. Local _________ have blocked conservation efforts in Taninthayri due to concerns about indigenous rights.

  4. Evidence from satellites indicates that _______________ in the area is increasing.

  5. The most damaging deforestation is undertaken _________, sanctioned by the government.

  6. Often companies use the legal loophole regarding 'conversion timber' as a way of conducting __________ in areas where it is illegal.

  7. By getting a concession to develop a plantation, companies can extract _________ from the land.


Myanmar’s southern Tanintharyi region is home to rainforests that support a unique assemblage of endangered species. But the relative flatness of much of the forest, along with its valuable timber species and its suitability for a variety of commodity crops, renders it extremely vulnerable to large-scale industrial agriculture, logging and other human pressures.

For a long time, the region’s biodiversity went relatively unscathed due to protracted political and economic isolation from much of the world. However, political and economic reforms have led to major transformations in the area. Areas targeted by loggers and plantation companies include two proposed national parks, Lenya and Tanintharyi. They were first proposed by the Myanmar government in 2002 and remain on hold due to regional conflict.

Despite the potential ecological benefits of legal environmental protection, conservation efforts to establish protected areas in the region have been rejected by campaigners who say doing so would violate the rights of local indigenous communities.

Meanwhile, satellite data show escalating deforestation in the region. Between 2001 and 2019, 6,230 hectares (15,395 acres) of forest disappeared, amounting to a 3.4% decrease in forest cover.

The worst deforestation takes place legally, approved by the law and government departments — and not with the goal of producing palm oil. Companies get concessions in the area to take valuable timber. Some companies have not planted anything in over 10 years but have cleared large areas of pristine forest. Trees felled during the process of clearing land for agriculture are known as “conversion timber”; this loophole is often used by companies around the world to access valuable timber and undertake logging operations in areas where outright logging is illegal but agricultural projects are not.

Obtaining a concession under the guise of developing a plantation allows companies to bypass restrictions and obtain permission to clear the land and sell the timber, with little actual intention of planting the promised agricultural crops that landed them the concessions in the first place.

Full story by Aimee Gabay /

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