A total of 3,200 civil servants have faced legal action during the past 10 years for involvement in illegal logging, the director-general of the Forest Department in Nay Pyi Taw, U Zaw Win, said on April 22.

They had included Forest Department officials responsible for the conservation of reserved forests who had been corrupt and had either been charged or dismissed from their positions, U Zaw Win said.

Other civil servants against whom action was taken between 2004 and 2013 had been involved with illegal loggers and timber smugglers.

U Zaw Win said the Forest Department and the Myanmar Police Force were working together to  help control illegal logging and timber smuggling in Kachin State and Sagaing Region.

Civil servants in the Forest Department, under the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry, who were weak in adhering to rules and regulations, said DawDaiwi That Zin, who chairs the environment group, Green Network.

However, environmental groups have acknowledged that the department is short-staffed.

More than 400,000 tons of illegally felled timber is reported to have been seized in the past 10 years.

Myanmar is reported to have 78 million acres (31.5 million hectares) of forest cover.

Link: http://mizzima.com/mizzima-news/environment/item/11104-3-200-civil-servants-charged-over-logging-cases-says-forest-department-official