Published 19 February 2009

Rotterdam police score musical wood

Cambridge, UK, 19th February 2009—Acting on information provided by TRAFFIC, Dutch Police seized 249 veneer sheets of Brazilian Rosewood from two companies based in Rotterdam and ‘s-Gravendeel, The Netherlands, in January 2009. 

Brazilian Rosewood sheets seized by police in The Netherlands following raids on two companies © TRAFFIC 

Brazilian Rosewood Dalbergia nigra is used for making musical instruments and furniture, but is threatened by habitat loss. It is endemic to Brazil and is classified as Vulnerable by IUCN. The timber was listed in Appendix I of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) in 1992, which prohibits its international trade. 

Neither company was able to provide documentation to prove the wood had been legally imported or that it had been legally obtained. 

“The Rotterdam Police are to be congratulated for their vigilance and decisive action against illegal timber imports,” commented Rob Parry-Jones, Director of TRAFFIC Europe.

Earlier this week, the European Parliament voted to introduce measures so that European companies will have to prove the wood they are trading in has been legally harvested and processed.