Feature Story

Rosewood conservation: a success story from Madagascar

October 21, 2020

Cutting of a rosewood branch
Through the GEF-funded UNEP project, resources are now being mobilized to prevent the local extinction of these very rare species by reinforcing the wild population as part of an ecological restoration program. Photo: Nuk2013/Shutterstock

Madagascar farmer Edmond is working on a rosewood conservation project coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its aim is to safeguard a group of trees that is the world’s most trafficked wild product by value and volume. From Guatemala to Madagascar to Thailand to Zambia, rosewoods have been targeted by timber traffickers who seek to profit especially from its growing demand in China and Viet Nam, principally for furniture.

To help reverse this trend, in 2017 UNEP, Madagascar’s Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, and local partners launched the GEF-funded project Conservation of Key Threatened Endemic and Economically Valuable Species in Madagascar. The project, which runs till 2022, seeks to reduce the threats to 21 economically important but threatened species at 18 sites in Madagascar. The production of large quantities of healthy new rosewood plants is critical to the project’s success.