World Heritage Committee inscribes Rainforests of Atsinanana (Madagascar) on List of World Heritage in Danger
The World Heritage Committee holding its 34th session chaired by João Luiz da Silva Ferreira, the Minister of Culture of Brazil, has inscribed the Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Madagascar) on the List of World Heritage in Danger because of illegal logging and hunting of endangered lemurs on the site.
The Committee noted that despite a decree outlawing the exploitation and export of rosewood and ebony, Madagascar continues to provide export permits for illegally logged timber. It also noted that countries that had ratified the World Heritage Convention are known destinations for this timber.
The Committee urged the Madagascar to take all necessary measures to enforce the decree and halt ilegal logging actvities. It also encouraged the State Party to organise a high level meeting of countries concerned to ensure that illegal timber originating from Madagascar is both banned and prevented from entering their national markets.
Having completed its separation from all other land masses more than 60 million years ago, Madagascar's plant and animal life evolved in isolation. The Rainforests of Atsinanana, comprising six national parks on the eastern side of the country, are critically important for maintaining ongoing ecological processes necessary for the survival of the island's unique biodiversity, which reflects its geological history. Many species are rare and threatened, especially primates and lemurs.