TRAFFIC convenes timber identification workshop in Madagascar
Antananarivo, Madagascar, June 2015—TRAFFIC convened a timber identification training workshop earlier this month, with a specific focus on Madagascar’s Dalbergia and Diospyros species.
The 40 delegates included representatives from the Malagasy Customs services, the timber harvesting industry, the Malagasy CITES Scientific and Management Authorities, civil society, the General Directorate of Forestry, eight Regional Forest Directorates and TRAFFIC.
During his opening speech, the General Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Ecology, Sea and Forest said: “This training is highly timely given Dalbergia and Diospyros species are of the highest priority in terms of timber legality control. The meeting is the first in its kind in Madagascar, and lays the foundation for ensuring widespread timber identification skills are enhanced among law enforcement officers—we hope TRAFFIC can repeat the training at the regional and local levels.”
The training aimed to build the capacity of stakeholders involved in timber legality verification and for timber identification using macroscopic methods.
The course was designed and tutored by Stephanie Dyer from the Timber Information Service in South Africa, assisted by Dr Harisoa Ravaomanalina and Dr Tahina Ramananantoandro from the University of Antananarivo.
Delegates were given practical hands-on training in timber identification, including visial inspection of timber samples both in the laboratory and in timber markets.
The workshop was held as part of the USAID-funded SCAPES project on “Preserving Madagascar’s Natural Resources”, which aims to combat the illegal trade in Madagascar’s natural resources through capacity building for Malagasy stakeholders.