Viet Nam is to stop all harvesting and exports of two species of endangered rosewood tree.
The two tree species (Dalbergia cochinchinensis and Dalbergia oliveri) are both listed on Appendix II of CITES (the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), which recognizes that they are threatened and that their use needs to be strictly regulated to ensure that it poses no risk to the species’ survival. The CITES implementing authorities in Viet Nam undertook a study, which was carried out under the CITES Tree Species Programme, into the local health of the two species. It found that populations of both species are ‘small and fragmented’ and recognized that further trade may pose a risk to their survival in the wild. Viet Nam therefore decided to prohibit all harvesting and export of these rosewoods from the wild for the next five years.
The rosewoods 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 in Viet Nam for international commerce for many years because their wood is considered very hard, beautiful and durable. Consequently, wild populations 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 hope is that with the new ban the two rosewood species will be allowed to recover in the wild. A further study will be carried out in 2027 to review the situation.