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Good news for Madagascar’s forests

March 26, 2010

A new decree has just been signed by the Malagasy government yesterday, officially prohibiting any further logging of rosewood and export of existing stocks of the illegally-sourced timber, Derek Schuurman reports.

While birding in Masoala last November, we encountered rosewood trees being cut down. Red heartwood showed, as if bleeding. We also saw signs of primary forest depletion as we approached the forest by boat. The idyllic landscape of primary rainforest, gently sloping down into velvet blue waters of Antagonil Bay, appeared strangely dotted with patches of low growing vegetation. Nevertheless, we still managed to find Masoala’s endemic lemur and bird species. We saw inquisitive Red-ruffed Lemurs overhead, hanging up side down, coppery fur shining in the evening sunlight. And we watched breathlessly when Helmet Vanga perched above us and a pair repeatedly flew along our birding routes. With the new rosewood protection decree, we expect good chances to see these desirable species also on our upcoming tour in November 2010.

To learn more about the illegal timber logging and traffic, and how Derek Schuurman and colleagues uncovered the facts, organise a global outcry and spur a new decree please click here.

To learn more about Madagascar’s birds and birding sites, please see the Southern African Birdfinder or read one of our Madagascar trip reports.

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