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Destruction and Degradation of the Burmese Frontier Forests
Status of the Rainforest

There are two major types of forests in Mu
Traw district. They are Tropical Wet Evergreen
(K'ner Ko in Karen), situated in the north covering
Lu Thaw Township, and Mixed Deciduous forests
(Kaw Bway Ko), in the south covering Dwe Loe and
Bu Thoe townships.
K'ner Ko is situated on a higher altitude where the
weather is colder and receives more rain in the rainy
season (May - October) than in the lowland areas.
There are many various valuable softwoods (such as
K'mar, Nee, Bwai, Thay, Mertrue, Thermay, Nah
Pawchaw, Noe, Thay Htaw La, and Tha Kokwee),
pine trees, and a few different kinds of species from
the Dipterocarp family (Ghaw Thu, Ghaw Theray,
Ghaw Gaw, and Gaw Wah).
In lowland areas, various kinds of
hardwood trees such as teak, iron-
wood, Klaw Klay (Padauk), species
from the Dipterocarp family (La Ni,
La Terr, La Bor, Ghaw Thu, Ghaw
Wah, Ghaw Gaw,and Ghaw
Theray) are common.
In both types of forests different
kinds of canes (Ghee Thu, Ghee
Gaw, and Ghee Ghoe) are present.
Detailed records of fauna are not
available. However local people
say that Mu Traw district once was
rich in wildlife: gaurs, wild oxen,
wildcats, bears, wild pigs, squirrels,
different monkey species, deer,
barking deer and rabbit. Big birds such as Toe Kawk
(hornbill), Toe Kay (peacock), Toe Pwa (pheasant)
and many other birds and different reptiles lived in
this area. Rare species such as the tiger and the rhi-
noceros were found in the deep forests. Thirty years
ago such diverse flora and fauna was found through-
out the Mu Traw district forests, especially in the
four reserve forests Mae Wai, Htee K' Hsaw Mae
(Sinswe), Kahilu (wildlife sanctuary) and Maw Lu
(Minanwe; KNU wildlife sanctuary). These forests
were classified as reserved by the British colonial
government and until recently the KNU followed
this policy. But nowadays these forests and their bio-
diversity are largely destroyed. In Maw Lu wildlife
sanctuary one of the villagers said: "Our ancestors
told us there were a lot of big animals such as tigers,
gaurs and rhinoceros in this area, but now we cannot
find them. Bird species that we know such as Toe
Kay, Toe Kawk, Toe Ghei, and wild fowl are nearly
extinct." However, the local communities still know
more than 80 mammal species and 75 bird species in
this forest. Maw Lu wildlife sanctuary is a suitable
habitat for animals because of its high cliff ranges,
many small streams and creeks, and thick forests
with big trees such as Ghaw (Dipterocarp family)
where it is always cool and green. But now, as inter-
nally displaced persons (IDP's) are expanding shift-
ing cultivation in this area, forests and wild animals
are endangered. According to a local source, there
are almost no trees left in Kahilu wildlife sanctuary.
Htee K'Hsaw Mae reserve forest used to have many
teaks, ironwood and other hardwood trees, but now
these have all been logged.
From 1989 to 1993, most forests along the eastern
side of Burma on the border with Thailand have
been seriously degraded by logging. From 1996 to
the present, logging and charcoal production is tak-
ing place in the south and moving up towards the
Mu Traw District (Pa Pun)
Mu Traw district is divided into 3 townships: Lu Thaw, Bu Thoe, and Dweh Loe
Township. Lu Thaw and Dweh Loe Townships have 12 village tracks each while Bu
Thoe Township has 11 village tracks. 10 village tracks in Lu Thaw Township are
under control of the KNU. In these 'black zones' warfare with the SPDC and the
DKBA however remains continuous. The remaining areas in Mu Traw district are
contested for by the SPDC, the DKBA and the KNU. These areas are called conflict
or 'brown' zones.
Total areas involved: mid and southern Mu Traw (more than 10 villages)
Habitat types: Tropical Wet Evergreen forests in mountainous regions (cool and
very wet), Mixed Deciduous forest in the lowlands (hotter climate, less rain)
Wildlife present: Gaurs, wild pig, at least 5-6 monkey species, wildcats, bears, deer,
barking deer, squirrel, and rabbit. Large birds such as the hornbill, peacock and
other bird species.