Burma Forest Department was first created by Mr. Colven in 1847 and then by Dr. Dietrich Brandis in 1856 during the British colonial period. Burma gained independence on the 4th of January, 1948.
After independence, Burma Forest Service was organized under U Hmann as the first Burmese Chief Conservator of Forests, and the Burma Forest Department (FD) was established terminating the services of all but five European foresters who were retained for two to three years as advisors.
In 1948-49 the FD staff consisted of 135 officers and 2,817 subordinates, totaling 2,952. In January 2000, it became 15,148 comprising 557 officers and 14,591 subordinates. The total area of permanent forest estate (PFE) stood at 144,721 km2 (or 21.4% of the total land area of Myanmar) on 31st March, 2001.The total forest cover was 50.8% in 2001 which consisted of 43.3% closed forests and 7.5% open forests. With 65.8% in 1925 the forest cover had decreased by about 15% in 76 years. The quality of the remaining forests had also declined. The depletion and degradation of the country’s natural forests have been negatively impacting on the lives and livelihoods of the forest-dependent rural communities accelerating poverty due to the destruction of wildlife and fishery habitats and water resources, and decreasing availability of timber and non-timber forest products and declining agricultural productivity due to climate change. The destruction of mangrove ecosystems not only increases food insecurity but also disaster risks of the coastal dwellers.
It was, therefore, critically vital, as a matter of priority, to reverse declining forest resources and increasing food insecurity and reduce disaster risks of the rural communities in the face of changing climate. In this respect an urgent need is evident to rehabilitate forests, improve ecosystems, enhance technical capacity and environmental awareness of the people, and promote their participation in natural resource management.
With this end in view we initiated Ecosystem Conservation and Community Development Initiative (ECCDI) in November 2006. It was officially registered on 26 February, 2010 under number 1924. It is a membership-based, non-profit, non-political and non-governmental local organization. The organization does not favor any particular religion or ethnic group.
Its founding fathers were retired forestry professionals with life-long experience. Upon gaining credibility and trust from local communities and diverse organizations within a couple of years, the work of ECCDI has expanded and membership increased to 284. ECCDI has made significant progress and positive changes since its inception.