In the continuous trend towards deforestation in most tropical countries in the Asia and Pacific Region, efforts have been taking place to establish sustainable forest management in both natural forests and plantations. People have realized the critical importance of the functions provided by the region's tropical forests, ranging from timber, fuelwood, fodder, and non-wood forest products to stable water supplies and other environmental needs.
Teak, a hardwood tree indigenous to the Region, has a long tradition of systematic management. In fact, modern forest management systems in this region began with teak (the Burma Selection System) about 140 years ago in Myanmar, from where over the next 40 years, it spread to India and Thailand. The basic theories and practices of teak forest management were subsequently applied to non-teak forests, and have laid the foundation of many forest management systems throughout the Region.
Teak also opened a horizon in plantation forestry in the Region. In Indonesia, teak has been planted since the 14th century in Java. In China, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and Vietnam, where teak does not grow naturally, teak plantations have received much attention. This movement is also seen in other tropical countries outside the Region, such as Brazil.
This Regional Seminar on Teak was the second of this kind organized by FAO, after the first was jointly organized by China/ESCAP/FAO in Guangzhou, China, in March 1991. Seeing the follow-up activities after the first seminar, FAO recognized the need to examine several technical and economic issues in teak forest management, processing and trade. The key persons who arranged this Second Regional Seminar were Dr. C.T.S. Nair, Senior Programme Adviser of the Forestry Research Support Programme for Asia-Pacific Region (FORSPA); Mr. D. Cameron, Chief Technical Advisor of the Strengthening Re-afforestation Programmes in Asia (STRAP); Dr. K. Vivekanandan, Chief Technical Advisor of the Improved Productivity of Man-made Forests through Breeding (FORTIP); Mr. M. Kashio, Regional Forest Resources Officer in the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (RAP); and Mr. Ko Ko Gyi, the Forest Department of Myanmar.
One of the outcomes of the Seminar was a regional network on teak, TEAKNET. The original idea to create a network was conceived by the late Dr Y.S. Rao, former Regional Forestry Officer in RAP and then, during the first regional seminar on teak, Senior Programme Adviser of FORSPA. Unfortunately, however, this network was lost with the tragic death of Dr. Rao in March 1993. The Second Regional Seminar on Teak has reactivated this network in a new setting. We, FAO, sincerely hope that TEAKNET will grow and perform its expected functions with the participation of a wide range of parties interested in or working in teak management, processing and trade. The TEAKNET activities at the moment has been coordinated by Mr. Ko Ko Gyi, the TEAKNET Coordinator, through the generous support of the Forest Department of Myanmar, without any external financial support from donors. We hope that this situation will change in the near future.
Mr. M. Kashio and Mr. Kevin White assumed a heavy burden when they set out to edit these bulky proceedings. Mr. Ko Ko Gyi and his capable staff in the TEAKNET Secretariat in Yangon, Myanmar, assisted in setting the format and the tables of the proceedings. We acknowledge their work with great thanks.
Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative
for Asia and the Pacific
The participants of the Second Regional Seminar on Teak during the field trip to Bago Yoma.