Pierre ex Laness.
Demand side: China
The demand for furniture made from Siamese rosewood, chiefly in China where it is known as hongmu, has led to an epidemic of illegal logging and trafficking, threatening the species with extinction and resulting in a war with poachers. In 2015 seven Thai forest rangers were killed trying to shut down illegal Siamese rosewood logging.
According to the Environmental Investigation Agency, "Rosewood prices started to spike with the increase in Chinese millionaires and the lead-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In 2011, EIA investigators witnessed a rosewood bed for sale in China for one million dollars. Since then black market prices have rocketed, making Siam rosewood more valuable than gold."
Siamese rosewood is denser than water, fine grained, and high in oils and resins. These properties make them dimensionally stable, hard wearing, rot and insect resistant, and when new, highly fragrant. The density and toughness of the wood also allows furniture to be built without the use of glue and nails, but rather constructed from jointery and doweling alone.
Supply side: illegal logging
Although officially protected, trees of these species are subject to illegal logging in the Phu Phan and the Dangrek Mountains. The logs cut on the Cambodian side are usually smuggled into Thailand. Being highly valued in the wood carving and furniture industry, phayung logs easily find a market.
Thailand has urged neighbouring countries and China to tighten regulations to curb the illegal Siamese rosewood timber trade. Prasert Sornsathapornkul, director of the Natural World Heritage Office at the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, said demand in China for the protected Siamese rosewood is on the rise, leading to illegal logging in Thailand. Mr Prasert noted that logging licences issued by Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam make it difficult to determine if the wood originated in those countries or in Thailand. Thai authorities have voiced concern the timber might be shipped from Thailand to neighbouring countries to be legalised. He Jinxing, programme officer of the CITES Management Authority of China, said: "We import the phayung logs from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam with legal licences under CITES regulations." China has voiced concern that the enforcement of regulations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) will affect supply to its markets.
- 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Archived June 27, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Downloaded on 19 July 2007
- tropicos.org, retrieved 12 December 2015
- Asian Regional Workshop (Conservation and Sustainable Management of Trees, Vietnam) 1998
- Land, Graham (2016-01-08). "'More valuable than gold': Thailand's fight to save the Siamese Rosewood". Asian Correspondent. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
- "Corruption, bloodshed and death – the curse of rosewood". Environmental Investigation Agency. 2013-08-16. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
- Dalbergia cochinchinensis
- DSI claims illegal logging rampant, Bangkok Post
- Cambodians caught for phayung smuggling, Bangkok Post
- Illegal Cambodian loggers add to tensions
- Apinya, Wipatayotin (2016-04-05). "Parks urges tighter log trade rules". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
- China frets over Thai plan to regulate trade in phayung trees
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