Senegal: when timber trafficking fuels rebellion in Casamance

In depth
This article is part of the dossier: Timber Trafficking

By Mehdi Ba, in Dakar
Posted on Wednesday, 13 July 2022 13:58

Between Senegal and China, via The Gambia, the illegal trade in rosewood continues to flourish. An ecological disaster that generates colossal sums of money and finances an armed struggle.

This is part 4 of a 6-part series

The name could evoke a dinosaur straight out of the Jurassic Park films, but Pterocarpus Erinaceus couldn’t be further from a reconstructed pterodactyl, flying around the big screen and scaring children. In the south of Senegal, this species of precious wood – called, both, rosewood or vène wood – has long been one of the secret treasures of the green forests of Casamance; an ecological treasure, of course, before its uncontrolled exploitation and clandestine trade turned into a lucrative business involving Senegal, the Gambia and China, against the backdrop of an armed rebellion that quickly realised how much money they could make.

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Côte d’Ivoire: The case that led to the fall of Alain-Richard Donwahi

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Cameroon-Nigeria: from Yaoundé to Lagos, wood and money

For nearly 15 years, a new forestry law in Cameroon has been in the making to curb the illicit trade in precious woods. While waiting for its promulgation, the trafficking continues, all the way to the Nigerian border. We dive into the heart of a mafia with deep roots.

Africa: The road to plundering precious woods

For more than 10 years, this illegal trafficking has been spreading in Africa from country to country as forests are decimated. We take a look at the figures through our infographics.

DRC: Tshisekedi and the impossible clean-up of the Congolese forests

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