Logging of Rare Rosewood and Palisandre (<i>Dalbergia</i> spp.) within Marojejy National Park, Madagascar
Erik R. Patel
Dalbergia, illegal logging, corruption, precious wood, bois porécieux, palissandre
Illegal logging of precious wood has emerged as one of the most severe threats to Madagascar’s northeastern rainforests. Thousands of logs, worth millions of dollars, have recently been confiscated at ports of Vohémar, Antalaha, and Toamasina. This report details the logging of rare, endemic rosewood and palisandre (Dalbergia baronii, D. louveli, and D. madagascariensis) within the eastern and northeastern portions of Marojejy National Park, Madagascar. Harvesting these heavy hardwoods is a labor intensive activity requiring coordination between localresidents who manually cut the trees, but receive little profit, and a criminal network of exporters, domestic transporters, and corrupt officials who initiate the process and reap most of the profits. Structured interviews of residents identified three major perceived causes: decline in value of the local vanilla cash crop, extremely high value of rosewood, and local poverty. The impacts of such selective logging include violating local taboos as well as ecological consequences such as increased likehood of fire, invasive species, impaired habitat, and loss in genetic diversity. Recommendations include listing D. louveli under CITES Appendix III, increasing the involvement of thejudicial system, no future authorizations for the gathering of precious wood, reforestation, and extensive monitoring along strategic roadways.