The illegal logging of precious wood rose sharply during the political crisis that gripped Madagascar during 2009. Forest communities, who could be part of the preservation of these resources, have been swept up in the rush for rosewood.
Rosewood, or Dalbergia baroni, is a very valuable hardwood, in great demand worldwide. Along with related species from Latin America and Asia, it has been over-exploited, and is a protected species in Madgascar.
Sipping a beer in a bar in the rural district of Manompana, is a strapping 30-year-old who today is going by the name "Christian". It is 200 kilometres from the port city of Toamasina, through which much of Madagascar's exports of wood pass. When one of his associates introduces a potential client for precious wood, he welcomes her with a broad smile.
"I can get you any quantity of wood you want," he tells the woman. "I'll discuss it with my loggers."
Christian doesn't personally go into ...