Policy ForumConservation

CITES Designation for Endangered Rosewood in Madagascar

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Science  28 May 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5982, pp. 1109-1110
DOI: 10.1126/science.1187740

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Logging in Madagascar, one of the world's most threatened biodiversity hot spots (1, 2), has rapidly increased amid political turmoil since a transitional government assumed power in March 2009 (1, 3). With as much as 90% of the country's primary forest already lost, continued logging will mean species extinctions across all biotic elements of Madagascar's ecosystems, where rates of endemism are unparalleled (2, 4, 5). We demonstrate immediate risk for rosewood (genus Dalbergia) species extinctions and thus the need for protection via international trade regulation under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Protection of Malagasy rosewood species, which suffer from targeted logging because of their high value in international markets, would not only avoid their extinction but also extend the benefits of protection to all biota within these threatened ecosystems.