In April this year, Madagascar’s transitional government reinstated a ban on rosewood logging and exports, following prolonged pressure, spearheaded by Ecological Internet (EI), over illegal logging of its national parks. The ban prohibits all exports of rosewood and other precious trees for two to five years.

Over the past year, EI has conceived and led an international campaign seeking to emphasise the importance of keeping Madagascar’s dwindling primary forests standing and intact. Over half a million protest emails from 102 countries were sent to the Madagascan government.

The logging crisis began in March 2009 when destabilisation following a government coup allowed loggers to enter several of Madagascar’s world-renowned parks and then to illegally log tens of thousands of hectares of biodiverse rainforest. It is unclear as yet whether the illegal loggers and traders will be prosecuted for their part in felling approximately 15,000 tonnes of rosewood timber.

EI president Glen Barry warns: ‘Ensuring that this moratorium becomes permanent will require continued vigilance and campaigning. Yet two important precedents have been set: that it is possible to end rainforest logging; and the emerging effectiveness of a global, internet-based movement committed to protecting and restoring threatened ecosystems.’

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Lorna Howarth is Development Director at Artists Project Earth.