"Rosewood – all trees are cut manually, using power chain saws only. There is virtually no other mechanisation, which essentially maintains the entire forest. The trees themselves are fairly old, the younger trees are left untouched. This means in practice maybe 1 tree in 50 or 60 is suitable for cutting. The villagers that live in these forests depend upon these and other trees for their livelihood, and therefore take very good care of the forest, making sure other species are left untouched, and even for the rosewood, only old and mature trees cut, everything else is preserved for their future generations.
"All the rosewood comes from Java. The bad story of the environment is in the islands of Kalimantan (Borneo) and Sumatra, basically where there has been a lot of commercial logging by huge forestry companies, that bring in tons of equipment, and pretty much destroy thousands of hectares of forest every year. This is more for commercial species like Merbau, Meranti, Bangkiai etc, which are in high demand for construction, plywood and other commercial uses.
"Because of the nature of Rosewood trees, which are basically growing among a whole bunch of other species, it is not feasible for these large log companies to come in and do logging, and this ensures that the forests will not be destroyed.
"Macassar is a very well protected species by the government , and there are huge taxes on every cubic meter taken out of the forest. And also the amounts taken out are subject to strict supervision.
"Like rosewood, the local population tends to look after these trees. Contrary to popular belief there are still a lot of macassar ebony forests around, most of them however are totally inaccessible, either very high up in steep rocky mountains, or deep in the valleys in between, which means commercial logging is impossible. This of course protects the species.
"Ebony is also logged strictly by hand, using chain saws, after which it is carried out of the forests either by teams of men or using animals. Trucks etc. cannot be used in this terrain. So this naturally limits how much can actually be taken out. Add the weather factor (when it rains, as it does frequently), nothing can be done.
"Both of these species are fairly well looked after, as people can appreciate their rarity even here, and the local people depend on them for their lifestyle."
"Belize has about 65% forest cover, much of the rest is given over to growing sugar cane and other crops. Logging has been going on for upwards of 300 years, slash and burn agriculture was practised by a significant population of Mayans for 'thousands' of years before that, so virgin forests that may be seen elsewhere in the tropics are not really a factor in Belize. In fact the productive areas of forest (most highland areas are now protected) have been cut over many times and the forest has re-grown without difficulty.
"Logs are cut selectively subject to minimum diameters from forest actually owned by the company. Replanting is only done where the forest is left particularly sparse, otherwise it is preferred to leave 'mother' trees standing, which seed the area season by season rather than just the once, ensuring successful re-growth. Cutting is presently going on for a second cycle in some of the early parcels of land acquired by the company because some of the undersized trees are now fully grown. "Belize relies on the export of timber and eco-tourism for most foreign currency earnings and the preservation of the forest is vital for both. Belize is about the size of Wales with a population about the size of Wolverhampton."
We import Indian Rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia) from India for furniture and Musical instrument construction.
India has had very strict and restrictive laws for more than 35 years regarding exports of their native timbers. These laws recognise that timber is a limited resource and seek to create high levels of added value while at the same time limiting the amount of timber being taken from the forests. The supply chain for Indian Rosewood goes like this:
From 2nd January 2017 if you wish to export articles that are partly or fully made from newly listed species of Rosewood, Padauk and Bubinga then the export will need to be accompanied by a CITES re-export permit. It is possible that the importer/customer of the article may need to apply for a CITES import permit from their own authorities and this should be investigated before the export happens.
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