Gambia halts all timber exports to curb illegal logging and rosewood smuggling

Gambia has banned timber exports and revoked all timber export licenses to curb illegal logging, particularly rosewood smuggling.

The ban is effective immediately, with port authorities instructed to refuse loading timber logs onto any vessel, according to the government’s statement.

West African rosewood, which has been an endangered species since 2017, enjoys hot demand for furniture production in China, and Gambia has always been the largest exporter of rosewood to China. However, it is also one of the most trafficked wildlife products, according to BBC.

Gambia exported approximately 1.6 million rosewood trees between June 2012 and April 2020, most of which were in violation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

CITES has issued a statement in June, calling for seven states, including Gambia, to suspend the rosewood trade immediately.

In addition to the export ban, Gambia will also introduce strategies to reduce domestic use of timber for firewood and charcoal.