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Despite pledge to crack down, illegal logging continues in Madagascar's rainforest parks
wildmadagascar.org
September 06, 2010


Despite government assurances that it would crack down on the rosewood trade, illegal logging continues in Madagascar's rainforest parks, according to new information provided by sources on the ground.

The sources report logging in three parks: Mananara, Makira, and Masoala. All three are known for their high levels of biodiversity, including endangered lemurs.

Rosewood logs are being transported to Tamatave (Toamasina), Madagascar's main port, despite a national moratorium on logging and export of precious hardwoods. Most rosewood ends up going to China, where it is in high demand for furniture.


Rosewood logs said to have been cut in Makira Natural Park, one of Madagascar's largest protected areas.
The Malagasy sources report that local law enforcement—the new Brigade Mixte Forestière established to reduce logging—is impeded the Forest Ministry (Ministère de l'Environnement et des Forêts - MEF), which has failed to grant them the right to use search warrants on private property.

The sources also claim that rosewood confiscated by authorities is being stolen from official stockpiles.

Illegal logging exploded last year in the aftermath of a military coup that displaced the democratically-elected, but increasingly autocratic president, Marc Ravalomanana. National parks, especially in the Northeast of the country, were ransacked by loggers employed by timber barons who traditionally capitalize on political instability or natural disasters to replenish timber stocks and traffic ill-gotten wood.

Madagascar is now ruled by a "transition authority" that has so far shown little inclination to hold free and fair elections and has been be slow to address the logging crisis despite pressure from the international community.





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CITATION:
wildmadagascar.org (September 06, 2010). Despite pledge to crack down, illegal logging continues in Madagascar's rainforest parks. http://news.mongabay.com/2010/0906-madagascar_mananara.html



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