Success stories: Exposing Madagascar’s rosewood trade

In 2009 a military coup in Madagascar triggered a collapse in governance that resulted in a sharp increase in illegal rosewood logging. The logging was particularly damaging because it was associated with a rise in commercial bushmeat hunting, violence against conservation workers and local community members, and encroachment into protected areas, including Madagascar’s most biodiverse forests located in the northeastern part of the island.

Mongabay’s extensive reporting on the crisis, including investigative work that exposed some of the biggest players in the trade, provided information for NGOs, governments, and development agencies to pressure private companies to stop trafficking illicit timber and the government of Madagascar to crack down on logging. Information from Mongabay stories was regularly disseminated in French in Malagasy newspapers to the extent that the interim president, who seized control after the coup, acknowledged feeling heat from the reporting. Mounting pressure pushed the government to officially enact a ban on hardwood exports in March 2010.

See Mongabay founder Rhett Butler talk about rosewood reporting.

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