French container ship in Vohemar, Madagascar, March 12. Photo Derek Schuurman
There was a coup in Madagascar last March, and ever since there has been widespread poaching in the National Parks, for birds, lemurs and lumber. Rosewood is one of the world's most valuable tropical woods, ($ 5,000 per cubic meter) so $40 million of it was chopped (with permission of the new government, that needs the money) and was going to be shipped out in December. (see Madagascar Legally Exports Illegally Logged Rosewood) But there was an international outcry, and the French shipping company that was going to carry the lumber cancelled the shipment.
But much has changed since December.
This weekend, the French ships were back, with containers full of wood being loaded onto the ships. Activist and author Derek Schuurman send us pictures, writing:
The uploading of 275 containers of illegally-sourced Madagascar rosewood onto The Kiara will be done on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th March 2010 - as usual, timed over the week-end, when the media is not monitoring ships or political activities.
Jeremy Hance writes in Mongabay:
The mainstream media worldwide has largely been silent on the crisis as well even though it threatens Madagascar's rainforest, people, and wildlife, most of which is unique to the island."
And every architect, designer, builder or for that matter, guitar maker (Gibson Guitars got nailed in November) who uses rosewood is complicit. Whether it comes from Brazil, India or Madagascar, it is not sustainably harvested.