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Action Alert: Protest French Company Shipping Madagascar’s Illegally Logged Rosewood Timbers to China

Delmas shipping, a subsidiary of French shipping giant CMA-CGM, is planning to ship hundreds of containers of illegally logged ancient rainforest logs from Madagascar to China anytime soon. Post-coup illegal log and wildlife trade continue to threaten Madagacar's biodiversity rich rainforest remnants, ecological sustainability and future potential for national advancement.

By Rainforest Portal, a project of Ecological Internet - December 20, 2009

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Additional Background

Mongabay reports that Delmas shipping company is planning to take as many as 200 containers (worth $40M) of illegally logged rosewood rainforest timbers out of Vohemar port in Madagascar on the 21st or 22nd of December [1]. They reported four shipping companies have transported rosewood from Madagascar this year. Three of these have agreed to stop shipping rosewood following criticisms from international conservation groups, but the fourth, Delmas (a subsidiary of French shipping giant CMA-CGM) continues to ship illegally logged precious woods in large quantities.

Delmas has been asked by local campaigners to stop abetting the illegal timber trade by transporting rosewood. Delmas answered by insisting they had the authorization of the Minister of Environment and Forests, despite being presented with clear evidence that the merchandise they are transporting is of illegal origin. A search of their website reveals no routing information for the Consistence and the Lea, two of their ships reported to have transported rosewood recently. Though shipments of lumber may change hands in the Comoros, Mauritius or Malaysia, cargo manifests routinely leave out these intermediary stops and list only the shipment's final destination in China.

Loggers in Madagascar are daily plundering up to $460,000 of precious woods from national parks in the country's northeast, and the shipping companies are a good target to end these atrocities. The vast majority of precious woods that leave Madagascar are bound for a few cities in Southern China: Hong Kong, Dalian, Shanghai, Ganzhou. Between 1998 and 2008, Chinese imports of tropical wood nearly quadrupled, to 45 million cubic meters annually, making it by far the world's largest consumer of tropical timber. Over half of these imports are thought to be sourced illegally.

In October, Rainforest Rescue and Ecological Internet reported loggers and wildlife traders continue to violate Madagascar's biodiversity rich rainforests including protected areas. In March of this year controversy surrounding leasing of agricultural land resulted in a military coup. In the chaos that ensued, armed gangs funded by Chinese traders entered Madagascar’s Marojejy and Masoala National Parks, two world-renowned World Heritage Sites, and logged rosewood, ebonies, and other valuable hardwoods. NGOs operating in Madagascar report continued armed, open and organized plundering of precious wood from several natural forests, including these parks. Recently Global Witness and EIA launched a major report on the matter [2].


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Resource anarchy continues to reign post-coup in Madagascar's rainforests
Resource anarchy continues to reign post-coup in Madagascar's rainforests. This picture shows CMA CMG Delmas, a French shipping company, is facilitating the destruction of Madagascar's rainforests. Photo used with permission from Mongbabay.com.  (link)

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