ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar — On Oct. 21, Madagascar’s council of ministers issued a decision to reopen the domestic market for so-called ordinary wood — non-precious timber logged from natural forests. This market had been closed for nearly two years, leaving loggers with deteriorating stockpiles of wood they were unable to sell. But timber markets are a sensitive issue in Madagascar, where forests are rapidly shrinking, illegal logging is ubiquitous and most people depend on wood for fuel and building materials, and the decision sparked questions from the media. Two weeks later, on Nov. 2, the environment ministry held a press conference to clear up any confusion. Ministry personnel clarified that the government will not issue any new permits for commercial logging of ordinary wood, and that its export remains prohibited. They also confirmed that the move in no way applies to precious timber, whose stocks remain illegal to log, sell or export. The harvest and sale of exotic species, such as pine and eucalyptus, which are widely planted for timber and fuel, remains legal. Unprocessed pine wood in Moramanga district, eastern Madagascar, in November 2020. Pine, a commonly planted exotic species, is generally legal to harvest and sell. Image by Rivonala Razafison. A truck loaded with pine logs in Moramanga district in November 2020. Image by Rivonala Razafison. Trade in ordinary timber resumes In January 2019, the environment minister at the time, Alexandre Georget, issued a note suspending the legal exploitation, transport and export of ordinary wood across the island nation.…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer