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Madagascar rosewood, illegal logging and the tropical timber trade

JL Innes


Although deforestation rates in the tropics are reportedly slowing, the loss of both forest area and forest quality remains a significant issue for many countries. This is particularly true of Madagascar, where recent government instability has enabled a significant increase in the incidence of illegal logging of Dalbergia species from National Parks such as Marojejy and Masoala. The logs are exported with relative ease as export permits are being made available. While attempts have been made to improve the management of tropical forests, in 2005, the International Tropical Timber Organization considered that only 7 % of tropical production forests were being managed sustainably. Given the challenges associated with halting illegal logging at source, emphasis has shifted to the control of the trade in forest products. The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species provides a mechanism to restrict such trade, but the Madagascan Dalbergia species are not listed. In the USA, the recent amendments to the ‘Lacey Act’ could provide a significant disincentive to the import of illegally logged wood products, but it remains to be seen whether this Act can be enforced effectively.

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eISSN: 1662-2510