Magazine article Geographical

Demanding Action

Magazine article Geographical

Demanding Action

Article excerpt

There are two avenues open to anyone looking to halt the exploitation and trade in endangered species--you can attempt to crack down on supply or demand. The traditional route has been to shut down supply by sending out heavily armed rangers to go after poachers or illegal loggers. But all too often, this approach fails because the resources available are too limited--too few rangers trying to cover too large an area.

Such was the case in Madagascar, when the 2009 political coup left a security vacuum into which illegal loggers stepped (page 32). Their prize was the precious hardwoods found in the country's national parks. Logged out elsewhere in Madagascar, rosewood and ebony trees could still be found in reserves such as Marojejy and Masoala national parks. The wood from these trees commands high prices in the USA, China and Europe, where it's used to make everything from high-end musical instruments to obscenely expensive beds.

Wild West-style encampments sprang up in the jungles as locals flocked in, lured by the promise of generous wages. …

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