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Rosewoods Are The Most Illegally Traded Wildlife Product In The World

Rosewood is a dark brown-reddish coloured wood, used for making luxurious furniture and musical instruments. It is from a species of wood from various tropical and subtropical leguminous trees mainly ‘genus delbergia. It also has a rose like scent. Rosewood tree is the most exploited wood in the World. The demand is so high which has made it more expensive and scarce. A ton can go as high as $20,000.

The major cause of the rise in price is coming from China. It is highly accepted in modern China as luxurious and expensive. It symbolizes class and wealth, with no sign of slowing down.

Latin America and South-East Asia cannot sustain the demand from the China. So attention has moved to Africa. Mali, Zambia, Ghana and Nigeria are major export players but these countries are losing millions of dollars in annual potential revenues due to illegal harvesting. Moreso, forest management and regulation bodies are not making enough positive impact due to massive corruption. Rosewood are carted away without replenishment. Most of the logging happens at protected areas such like forest reserves, in violation of  regulations.

According to Akintola B, Nigeria is ranked number 1 on the list of China’s biggest rosewood supplier in Africa. In Nigeria, the indiscriminate logging of rosewood has led to fights, deaths and stripped naked forests. Rosewood is majorly found in Ekiti, Ondo, Ogun, Rivers, Kogi, Taraba and Cross River states. Just before Nigerians discovered the high value for rosewood, the wood was mainly used for furniture, firewood, medicine and dyeing clothes.

Between January 2018 and April 2018, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and Management Authority of Nigeria authorised exports of over 61,000 cubic meters of rosewood,while the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) showed authorised exports of 6, 587 cubic meters during the same period.

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) announced that rosewoods are now the most illegally traded wildlife product in the world, both in value and volume. Most of the rosewoods in Nigeria are transported through a town called Sagamu in Ogun State, the town is located close to Lagos. Rosewoods are put in containers in Sagamu and then transported to Apapa Port in Lagos.

To curb the losses, Nigeria needs to place a total ban on the export of rosewood. Take some time to replenish rosewood trees, collaborate with private partners to build industries where rosewood can be processed and exported to China and the rest of the World.

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