Illegal timber smuggling is devastating the lush Casamance region of Senegal and could strip it completely within two years.
That’s the predication of Senegalese environmentalist and former minister Haidar El Ali.
Casamance in southern Senegal contains the country’s last remaining forests, an area of 74,000 acres that could be depleted by 2018 as smugglers feed the demand for rosewood furniture in China, said El Ali.
Exporting timber from Senegal is illegal, so traffickers smuggle it to neighboring Gambia for shipping to China.
Gambian exports of rosewood to China totaled $238.5 million between 2010-2015, the second highest in West Africa after Nigeria, he said. Gambia has only 4,000 hectares of forests.
“This unacceptable trafficking is devastating for our forests and it has to stop,” Haidar told a news conference.