Translate page with Google

Story Publication logo August 23, 2023

Rosewood Trafficking: Malian Forests in Peril (French)


View of Cut Down Trees

Journalists look into rosewood trafficking in Senegal.

author #1 image author #2 image
Multiple Authors

This story excerpt was translated from French. To read the original story in full, visit Enquête Plus. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website. Our website is available in EnglishSpanishbahasa IndonesiaFrench, and Portuguese.

Image courtesy of Enquête Plus.

While they have made the fight against corruption one of their hobbyhorses, the military authorities sponsor and encourage the plundering of Mali's forests, where rosewood, commonly known as "bois de Vène," is cut on a massive scale and exported to China, mainly via the port of Dakar. This report was produced by a consortium of Senegalese journalists who came together after a training course on investigative journalism initiated by the Plateforme de protection des lanceurs d'alerte en Afrique (Platform for the protection of whistle-blowers in Africa).

A continuing disaster. For 25,000 CFA francs (around $45), offered to village chiefs with little concern for the future of their communities, the Chinese manage to plunder a large part of Mali's forests, in collusion with a few businessmen and high-ranking authorities. At most, their intermediaries pay 50,000 CFA francs to fill several trucks. "It breaks my heart. I can't keep quiet any longer," says a source who used to work in a sawmill in Bamako.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, our source expresses his bitterness: "It's very disgusting; I'm flabbergasted to see how rosewood is felled in our forests. And they don't even spare young people. They slaughter everything in their path, with the complicity of a few Malians who are getting rich at the expense of our people, who are sinking into poverty.''

As a nonprofit journalism organization, we depend on your support to fund journalism covering underreported issues around the world. Donate any amount today to become a Pulitzer Center Champion and receive exclusive benefits!

Despite complaints and the tightening of international regulations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), timber trafficking continues unabated in Senegal's neighboring country, which is plagued by insecurity and controlled by a military junta.