Something is moving in wood

1 Oct 2016

Press release n°3

CITES – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
17th Conference of the Parties. Johannesburg – South Africa
September 24 to October 5, 2016

Good news for tropical forests. Three important changes.

1- Dalbergia
It was feared that China would oppose. Trade in Dalbergia, commonly known as rosewood or red wood (“hongmu” in Chinese) had been booming in the world’s biggest importer. 10,000 producers of furniture and decorative objects are in activity in China, transforming “hongmu”. The industry employs one million people and generates 7 billion US$ in revenue per year. The Dalbegia odorifera, the most prestigious species, is sold at present for 1.5 million US$ per m3. Ordinary species are sold between 10,000 and 40,000 US$ per m3. After China, the United States and Europe are the main importers.

The genus Dalbergia is composed of 304 species of trees, bushes and vines among which 250 from tropical countries. Eight species are found in French Guyana, Martinique and Guadeloupe.

Dalbergia melanoxylon is the favored wood for flutes, oboes, clarinets and xylophones.

The proposal formed by Guatemala, Argentina, Brazil and Kenya to consolidate all Dalbergia species in Appendix II which obliges export and import countries to deliver permits was finally accepted by consensus. China kept quiet. Guyana State put forward that present use of Dalbergia is sustainable yet did not oppose the consensus.

Dalbergia flowers attract bees, beetles, butterflies, birds, ants… and pangolins in Africa and Asia. The roots withhold nitrogen and ensure the ground’s fertility. Dalbergias are essential to tropical systems.

In central America, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Madagascar, the cutters, stevedores, truck drivers or boatmen sell day after day thousands of m3 towards unsealed borders and container ship docks.

Up to now, only 61 species of Dalbergia were listed in the CITES Appendices. Logging companies would take advantage from custom’s incapacity to sort the species free of any administrative constraints and the protected ones. Difficulty in indentifying the species added to the confusion.

Inscription of all the species belonging to the Dalbergia genus to Appendix II- Dalbergia nigra being in Appendix I since 1992- will ease detection of smuggling and slow down logging that’s gotten out of control.

2- Barwood
Barwood or vène (Pterocarpus erinaceus), also sought for by Chinese carpentry- one million trees cut down and exported each year from West Africa- was also listed in Appendix II by consensus following a proposal formed by 10 countries of West Africa, Chad and the European Union. A portion of barwood traffic funds rebel militias.

3- Bubingas
Following a proposal from Gabon and the European Union, 3 Bubingas (Guiboourtia tessmannii, G. pellegriniana, G. demeusei) also called for in China and assimilated to the “hongmu” category have been listed in Appendix II. Here again, at the condition that all administrative authorities in the species range States (Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Nigeria) be sufficient, vigilant and uncompromising, unlawful and unregistered logging of bubingas be seriously stopped and punished.

What is good for tropical forests is not always so for the forests of temperate regions. Beware of the carry-over effect so as to meet the fanatic demand for wood in China, it would be wise that the European Union prepare to propose listing of certain species like oak and beech to the CITES Appendices.


See as well
The chameleon WWF, September 29, 2016
Anticorruption release, September 23, 2016





Imprimer cet article Imprimer cet article