Sarah Ferriss

This paper, prepared for a workshop on CITES and the EUTR at Chatham House on 12–13 December 2013, analyses trade in five timber-producing taxa listed in the appendices to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Remnants of trees remain in a deforested area ravaged by gold mining in the Amazon lowlands on 17 November 2013, Madre de Dios region, Peru. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.Remnants of trees remain in a deforested area ravaged by gold mining in the Amazon lowlands on 17 November 2013, Madre de Dios region, Peru. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

This paper, prepared for a workshop on CITES and the EUTR at Chatham House on 12–13 December 2013, analyses trade in five timber-producing taxa listed in the appendices to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). It provides an overview of the trade in these taxa during the last decade – both globally and into the European Union (EU) – as well as a snapshot of illegal trade.

  • The species under review are commodity timbers traded in high volumes (Afrormosia - Pericopsis elata, Ramin -Gonystylus spp., Mahogany - Swietenia macrophylla, Red Cedar - Cedrela odorata,) and semi-precious or precious woods (Rosewoods - Dalbergia spp.) traded in smaller quantities.
     
  • Trade in Afrormosia, Ramin, Mahogany and Red Cedar has declined during the last decade. There is little information about the patterns and volumes of trade in Appendix II- and III-listed Rosewoods. More is known about trade in the Appendix I-listed Brazilian Rosewood, which appears to have declined.
     
  • The EU is a major importer of Ramin, Afrormosia and, to a lesser extent, Rosewood and a minor importer of Mahogany and Red Cedar. Both globally and in the EU there are concerns around this trade, in particular the significant discrepancies between CITES data reported by importing and exporting countries.
     
  • While there is a range of possible reasons for these inconsistencies, such as a lack of awareness of CITES provisions, the scale and nature of the discrepancies for several of the species suggest that some are likely to be accounted for by unreported and therefore illegal trade.