By Pongphon Sarnsama
Long threatened by illegal logging, Siamese Rosewood is now under the world's wildlife and plant trade protection.
Thailand Tuesday won support and consensus to list Siamese rosewood under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)'s Appendix II from the Convention’s representatives attending the 16th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Bangkok.
Under appendix II, Thailand will be allowed to legally export this kind of timber to other countries but the quantity of Siamese rosewood must be monitored and controlled. Moreover, an export permit license will be required to send this timber to other countries in a bid to ensure that the export of this timber does not originate from illegal logging.
“Thailand will now issue an internal law to regulate plantation and logging of Siamese rosewood,” said Surawit Wannakrairoj, an official with the Agricultural Department who represented Thailand in the meeting.
Siamese rosewood or Tracewood is considered a first-class prime timber due to its colour, hardness, durability, easiness to work and resistance to insects, including termites. The wood is fine in texture and heavy and has recently become one of the most expensive in the world.
Due to its vulnerability to extinction from over-exploitation of local forests, Siamese rosewood has become rare and the species is disappearing from most of its natural habitat. It was estimated that the country had 300,000 natural stands in 2005, but by 2011 this figure had been greatly reduced to just 80,000-100,000 trees.
China is the main consumer of Siamese rosewood and believes that the timber supports their power.