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Naw Aung and His Sagawa

I spent the last two weeks in northern Myanmar working with Kachin villagers from Shinlonga (see Shinlonga and Morning Mist) on a community forestry project.  Much of the time I was living in a tent in the forest two hours walk from the village laying out a 100 hectare management area.  Naw Aung (shown above) was along to help us identify trees; he had also worked with me when I was in Shinlonga last May (see Field Crew; he's to my right in a woven hat.)

On the way to the management area, Naw Aung came across a large sagawa tree (Michelia champaca L.) that had fallen across the trail. Sagawa is one of the preferred construction timbers in Shinlonga and the species is hard to find. Although this tree had been dead for a while, the heartwood was still solid and several posts could be cut from it. To claim the wood, Naw Aung put a little sign in front of the log (shown in photo above) and then he carved his name on the log. This, apparently, is sufficient to let people know that the tree belongs to him.  


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