precious woods in Masoala and Marojejy National Parks, which was reported to the Committee at its 33rd session.
The World Heritage Centre and IUCN also received a copy of the “Investigation into the illegal exploitation, transport and export of precious timber in the Sava region in Madagascar” of August 2009, by Global Witness and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). This report was commissioned by the Ministry of Forest and Madagascar National Parks. A World Heritage Centre mission visited Madagascar in April 2010 in the framework of the Centre’s project activities and was also able to meet various stakeholders.
The State Party report indicates that illegal logging of precious woods in Masoala was still ongoing at the time of the preparation of their report, but states that logging in Marojejy had ceased. Logging activities are primarily targeting the three rosewood species (Dalbergia) occurring in the country, as well as to a lesser extent ebony (Diospyros). Rosewood or Dalbergia spp. are only present in Madagascar, India, Brazil and Central Africa and the species found in Madagascar are endemic to the island.
Most Rosewood is found in the north-east of the country, and in particular in the Masoala and Marojejy National Park, and in Mananara National Park, a biosphere reserve (not included in the property). The other four central/ southern National Parks (Andohahela, Andringitra, Ranomafana, and Zahamena) comprising the serial property seem relatively unaffected by the illegal logging crisis. The State Party specifically reports on the status of illegal logging in Masoala and Marojejy National Parks.
Masoala: The State Party notes that a large portion of the northern, western and southern areas of Masoala National Park was affected by illegal logging. At the time of the report, illegal loggers were present within the park and illegal logging of precious wood was persisting. The State Party further indicates that Masoala National Park obtained some limited funding from the Zurich Zoo and Conservation International to address this issue and secure the park.
Marojejy: The State Party reports that illegal logging in Marojejy occurred over a much smaller area in the north-west of the park. It had ceased in September 2009 and that there was little risk that this threat will resume. The park had re-opened to tourism and park staff were currently undertaking field surveys in the north-west portion of the park to determine the level of damage caused by illegal logging. Overall, the State Party considers that the measures implemented to counter this threat in Marojejy were successful and limited the operations of illegal loggers.
The State Party report further provides an overview of the implementation of the Action Plan developed by the Malagasy National Parks Committee to halt illegal logging of precious woods. Some of the key activities reported include the establishment of a Task Force in October 2009 to halt illegal logging, direct action to limit the collection of illegally logged precious woods, repeated closures of all key Malagasy ports to timber exports, and commissioning the Global Witness and the Environment Investigation Agency (EIA) to investigate and report on illegal logging activities. The State Party further outlines the future actions that it will undertake in order to halt illegal logging of precious woods, including maintaining the anti-logging Task Force and granting it additional powers to effectively control and manage illegal loggers currently within Masoala National Park, and continuing surveillance of both parks and undertaking field surveys to establish the state of both parks (once the situation has returned to normal).
As demonstrated in the Global Witness / EIA report, the logging crisis seems to be driven by a number of loopholes in the legislative framework. In fact, all ebony and rosewood exploitation and export have been forbidden in Madagascar since 2006 by Ministerial Decree. However, in January 2009, an interministerial decree was issued, giving an exceptional authorisation for the export of rosewood and ebony to 13 operators till 30 April 2010, supposedly for timber collected after the 2008 cyclone. Another similar special
State of conservation of World Heritage properties inscribed on the World Heritage List
WHC-10/34.COM/7B.Add, p. 6