Traffickers log Madagascar timber with impunity, study says

February 14, 2017 GMT

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A new report says at least 350,000 trees were cut down in protected areas in Madagascar between 2010 and 2015, reflecting minimal government controls over the country’s rosewood and ebony timber.

The study released Tuesday by TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring group, says at least 150,000 tons of logs were illegally exported to China, Malaysia, Mauritius and elsewhere over the same period.

The group says political instability, poor governance and corruption and other factors contributed to an “anarchic” situation from which it will take years for the environment to recover. It cites a failure to punish well-known traffickers of hardwood.

Madagascar’s government, which has acknowledged a corruption problem, has signed international agreements aimed at protecting its natural resources. In 2010, it banned the cutting and export of rosewood and ebony.