Cocobolo, (Dalbergia retusa) or Rosewood as it is commonly known, is one of the world’s most desired tropical hardwoods. Demand for the timber has reached record levels as of late, particularly in Asia, where it is so valuable that it’s sold in weight instead of the normal board feet measurement. This increasing demand is fueling illegal logging of virgin stands of Cocobolo in Central America, and even as far away as Madagascar.
Logging of Cocobolo has reached a feverish pitch in Panama, where loggers are encroaching illegally onto Indigenous Peoples’ land to extract the wood. As with most logging, the “poachers” are not discriminate when they harvest the Rosewood - they destroy significant amounts of forest to reach the one tree they want to harvest. The wood is culturally important to the indigenous, who use it medicinally and to create artisanry.