Belize enacts moratorium on rosewood
The Belizean Government has banned the harvesting and export of rosewood with immediate effect, in response to the widespread clearing of the hardwood species for the Asian market.
A government statement released on Friday, March 16th claimed the moratorium was necessary "to carry out an orderly assessment of the situation on the ground and as a first response to regulate the timber trade occurring in southern Belize." The government would subsequently institute "a rigorous regulatory framework throughout the country."
Southern Belize had been the remaining stronghold of Honduran Rosewood (Dalbergia stevensonii) until it became subject to widespread felling for the Chinese market. The ruling United Democratic Party (UDP) had been criticized for overseeing a situation in which no effective control system was put in place. The UDP narrowly won reelection on March 7th but lost control of southern constituencies to the opposition People's United Party.