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28 April 2011







Illegal rosewood bust in Madagascar

Authorities in Madagascar seized several trucks carrying illegally logged rosewood timber, reports Asity Madagascar, a conservation group that aided in the seizure.

Asity Madagascar — the island nation's branch of Birdlife International — said more than more than 800 rosewood planks and 100 logs were recovered by the operation.

The rosewood is believed to have been cut in Tsitongambarika, the largest remaining area of lowland rainforest in southern Madagascar. Tsitongambarika was recently granted temporary protected status and is slated to win permanent protection within the next two years, according to the group.

The seizure came after local communities around Tsitongambarika provided photographs and video of illegal logging. Asity Madagascar says it has trained the communities in forest monitoring. It also provided support for sustainable forest management as an alternative to slash-and-burn agriculture.

“The success of this action demonstrates that, given appropriate support and incentives that enable them to see themselves as joint beneficiaries of protected areas, local communities can be highly effective in working with conservation organizations and Government authorities to police violations of environmental law”, said Roger Safford, Senior Programme Manager at BirdLife International, in a statement.

Illegal logging remains rampant in Madagascar, especially in the northeast part of the country. National parks are particularly targeted. Timber is sometimes shipped out of ports in the South to avoid detection.


Assessing illegal logging

Chatham House is assessing the scale and effectiveness of the response to illegal logging and the related trade around the world. Full details of this work, including analysis and data, will be available online soon.