Viet Nam is to stop all harvesting and exports of two species of endangered rosewood tree
The two trees (Dalbergia cochinchinensis and Dalbergia oliveri) are both are listed on Appendix II of CITES (the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) which recognizes that they are threatened and that their use needs to be carefully regulated. The CITES implementing authorities in Viet Nam undertook a study into the local health of the two species. It found that populations of both species are ‘small and fragmented’ and therefore decided to prohibit all harvesting and export of these rosewoods from the wild for the next five years. Listing under Appendix II of CITES means that any international trade in the species has to pose no risk to the survival of the species. The study, which was carried out under the CITES Tree Species Programme recognized that further trade may pose a risk to the two species.
The rosewood species have been part of a booming timber trade in recent decades – the Siamese rosewood (Dalbergia cochinchinensis) has been heavily in demand for making luxury furniture products. Both species have been illegally exploited and commercialized in Vietnam for many years because their wood is considered very hard, beautiful and durable. Consequently, wild populations of these species have declined dramatically.
Viet Nam is one of the world’s richest countries in terms of biodiversity, with nearly 15 million hectares of forests. However, it has been facing serious biodiversity loss due to deforestation and forest degradation as well as illegal hunting, logging and trade in wild plants and animals. CITES listing of endangered species is aimed at ensuring that all trade in these species is legal, sustainable and traceable. The new ban is designed to allow the two rosewood species to recover in the wild. A further study will be carried out in 2027 to review the situation.