Namibia, largely a water-shy desert now suffers from staggering deforestation as a result of logging. In the Northern region, large tracts of ancient rosewood trees occur naturally. Sadly, not for much longer. Apparently, China and Vietnam provide a market for the trees. Seemingly, loopholes in projects around new “settlement farms” permit logging. Interestingly, logging allegedly happens on farms leased to members of the ruling party, the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) party.
Staggering deforestation in Namibia
Staggeringly, the OCCP, (Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project) reports the 700-year-old rosewoods vanished. Furthermore, the logs end up shipped to China and Vietnam via Walvis bay. Incredibly, this happens despite Namibia signing up as a signatory on the CITES. Specifically, the 2017 agreement bans trade in rosewood. Increasingly, Asian red-wood furniture demand decimates African forests. Particularly, Namibia’s.
Initially, the Namibian reported this problem in August 2019. Specifically, the article quotes export tonnage going from Walvis Bay to China. Citing, 22 tonnes in 2015/16, to 200 tonnes in 2017. Meanwhile, the logging continues at an alarming pace.
Deforestation impacts climate
Additionally, deforestation damages other vegetation. Moreover, according to the Pachamama Alliance, a sustainability organisation, deforestation contributes to “climate change, desertification, soil erosion, flooding, and increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”
Rich local elites enabling Chinese loggers to illegally cut down the last of Namibia's rosewood trees. "The children will never see trees like this in our lives again,” one farmer says of a tragedy made possible by greed of local authorities. https://t.co/q91i57PM8N pic.twitter.com/CCGTokLDVs
— James Hall (@hallaboutafrica) December 20, 2020
OCCP is an international journalism grouping investigating and following illicit money, crime and corruption.
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