Rosewood grace period ends on Saturday
In the south, loggers have until Saturday to extract felled rosewood. After months of pressure by conservation groups that the forests were being depleted of the precious wood, on March sixteenth, the Ministry of Forestry slapped a moratorium on all rosewood activities. But while conservationists supported the move, stakeholders in the lucrative trade protested that they were not given due notice to bring the logging to a sudden end. The ministry then allowed them a two-week period to loggers and dealers to extract and sell existing lumber. That grace period expires on Saturday. Immediately thereafter, says Minister of Forestry Lisel Alamilla, officials from the department will begin an assessment of the harvest.
Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Forestry
“What is happening right now is that villages are still taking out all the flitches that they have in the forest and they have up until tomorrow to take them out. After that then next week we will go in and start stamping them. They have already, those communities that are ready, have taken out all their flitches, have already called Forestry Department and we will then be scheduling land for forest officers to go in and measure the flitches.”
“Where do you see this going in terms of the findings of this evaluation process? If the results are that there has been mass pillaging across the district and there are mature, adult rosewood plants left, would that call for an end or a complete ban on the harvesting of rosewood? Where do you see this going?”
“Well first of all let us explain that there are two things happening: one is the moratorium whereby we are allowing everyone to take out everything that they have; secondly, what will happen after the moratorium or during the moratorium will allow for the extending of the survey assessment to happen and that’s something that can only be done properly if there is a moratorium. You can’t continue cutting while you’re trying to gather data of what’s standing and the Forestry Department will start to do that once they are finished measuring and stamping all the rosewood that’s on the ground. Based on that data then we will decide how we will proceed.”