The illegal trade and export of rosewood has been a headache for the Forestry Department. After multiple busts and a public burning of several hundred board feet of confiscated rosewood, the trade seems to have quieted down. And soon it will get even tougher for those determined to engage in rosewood extraction because Belize is now one of several countries listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) for certain species of rosewood and ebony to be protected. Most of Central America, Madagascar in Africa and Southeast Asian countries including Thailand are on the list as well. The move was taken at a meeting of CITES being held in Bangkok, Thailand this week. According to Minister Lisell Alamilla, internal activity is not affected by the protection but Belize must document its harvests of the valuable wood.
Minister Lisell Alamilla;
What it really does is more focused on international trade. Locally we can do whatever we want. There’s no penalty for us. But once we want to be involved in the international trade of Rosewood, there are certain criterias, or demands that are placed on us, and what is really required is mostly that we issue a CITES certificate to say that we have sustainably harvested the Rosewood. It doesn’t impact at all the craft market. We can still sell Rosewood bowls. We can still take them as gifts, and they don’t need a CITES certificate. But any trade beyond that will require a permit from the Forest Department.
From 112 containers of exported rosewood, mainly to China, the Government of Belize has only collected BZ$200,000 in royalties from sales of 12 million dollars, PLUS News understands.