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Madagascar Needs Assessment of Scientific and Technical Capacity Related to Management and Conservation of Precious Woods


Madagascar faces severe challenges from the illegal logging and exportation of precious woods like rosewood (Dalbergia spp) and ebony (Diospyros spp), damaging pristine ecosystems and depriving the state of the revenue that could support a sustainable forest management system. Although the 16th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) agreed on an action plan in 2013 to protect precious hardwoods, little has been done to improve the capacity needed to implement this plan.


This report aims to inform the implementation of the scientific work envisaged under the CITES Action Plan, along with priority activities identified by the Government of Madagascar. In the short-term, scientific and technical tools can provide a credible basis for enforcing the Malagasy and international laws that govern trade in precious hardwoods. In the medium and long-term, these tools can help to reliably identify precious woods, and thus support enforcement agents in sustainably managing forests. 

This report focuses on: (1) geographic range and population status of precious timber species of Dalbergia and Diospyros species; (2) species identification technologies; (3) silvicultural potential for regeneration of these species; and (4) private sector potential for developing a value chain for the sustainable exploitation of precious timbers.


This report reveals significant gaps in the knowledge and available tools needed to implement the CITES Action Plan, but also finds that a solid foundation exists for overcoming each of these gaps – if donor and technical partners step up to work with relevant institutions and authorities in Madagascar. Malagasy and international experts in each of the key areas (taxonomy, field collection and identification, development and management of a reference collection and a database, wood anatomy, DNA barcoding, and mass spectrometry) have conducted promising pilot initiatives and are working in close collaboration with a shared vision of how to address the most pressing issues and to develop the needed knowledge and tools. Now is the time to scale these efforts up.

The report is available in English and French.

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Last Updated : 06-25-2018