If the proclamations and rules coming out of CITES are even half-implemented, endangered species of various domains–aquatic, terrestrial, animal and plant–will find themselves on roads less perilous than the ones they have been on in recent decades:
Every species of mahogany and rosewood tree in Madagascar gained new protection on Tuesday against a rampant logging trade that threatens to wipe out some species before they are even discovered.
The 178 nations at the world’s biggest wildlife summit agreed unanimously to strictly regulate the international trade in mahogany timber.
The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species(Cites), taking place in Bangkok, also gave new protection to rosewood in Central America, Thailand and Vietnam. Ebony and rosewoods are targeted to make high-price furniture, musical instruments, chess pieces and flooring.
“There are 80 ebony species known in Madagascar but they are literally identifying more right now and there may be as many as 240 species in all,” said Noel McGough, a botanist at Kew Botanical Gardens in London and a member of the UK delegation. He said the new protection, aimed at ensuring harvests are sustainable, had been urgently needed: “We need to move quickly.”
“Regulating the international trade will give the chance to feed money back to the poor local communities,” he added. “Illegal trade just drains money away from them.”
Recent years have seen a sharp rise in the exploitation of ebony in Madagascar, with much of the wood destined for Asian markets. For some species, no large trees remain in the wild, posing a serious threat to trees that take decades to produce the hard, dense, black wood that is sought after.
The number of rosewood trees in Thailand is estimated to have declined as much as 70%, from around 300,000 in 2005 to 80,000-100,000 trees in 2011.
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