Historic Victory for Mahogany and Ancient Forests

Press release - 13 November, 2002

Worm's eye view of a mahogany tree in the Amazon forest, Brazil

Greenpeace today joyfully welcomed the outcome of the CITES vote to list mahogany on Appendix II thus giving the tree species a fighting chance to survive under controlled and legal trade.

The result of today's vote effectively means that trade of the highly valuable species will be from sustainable sources and strictly managed forests.

"Greenpeace has been campaigning on mahogany for the past ten years and is very proud of the final result," said Paulo Adario of Greenpeace. "This is a victory for mahogany, the environment and the people of Latin America forests who depend of forest resources for their survival."

The proposal to list mahogany on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was submitted by Nicaragua and supported by Guatemala. During the discussions in today's session at the 12th Conference of the Parties to CITES delegates from Brazil and Bolivia made strong statements against the listing; however, the UK, EU and Central American countries stressed how the Appendix II listing will not only protect the species, but also safeguard the market and protect consumers from illegal trade.

The particular species, Big Leaf Mahogany, is found in the neotropical forests that range from the South of Mexico through Central America and down to the Amazon.

This afternoon's victory was gained through secret ballot. Of the votes needed to carry the proposal, 68 were in favour, 30 against, 14 abstentions and 3 ballot forms were spoiled. According to the rules and procedures of CITES, there is a slight chance that the proposal could be brought back to plenary for consideration by all the delegates at which time a two-thirds vote is needed to agree to reopen the discussion.

Greenpeace calls on Brazil and Bolivia to accept the decision of CITES delegates and ensure that their countries will do their best to implement sustainable mahogany logging and legal trade which will result from the Appendix II listing.

"Today's decision sends a very clear signal to the global market that only legal, social and environmentally sustainable timber should be traded," said Tim Birch of Greenpeace. "The tide is turning in favour of the world's ancient forests. Markets and consumers are demanding sustainable forest products and this is a strong step toward delivering on their demands."