Traffickers at the Starting Blocks

Consequences of a Premature Lifting of the Zero Export Quota for Pterocarpus erinaceus in Sierra Leone and its Impacts on Neighboring Countries

Trade in Pterocarpus erinaceus, an endangered species of rosewood, has been effectively suspended under CITES since June 2022, though several countries with documented trafficking and trade in the species have been working to prematurely reopen trade without having the necessary conditions in place. EIA supports the concerns raised in PC27 Doc. 15.3 by the Plants Committee’s North American and European representative regarding non-detriment findings submitted by Ghana and Sierra Leone, in particular regarding Sierra Leone’s stockpiles.

EIA’s investigation indicates that these concerns are well-founded, in light of new evidence of laundering of freshly-cut timber from Guinea through Sierra Leone’s stockpile in preparation for an expected lifting of the zero export quota. Given the findings of EIA’s investigation and ongoing concerns related to regional trafficking of the species, lifting the zero export quota in Sierra Leone would have consequences far beyond its borders.