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Prunus africana: A sustainable management reality check

It may seem unlikely that a tree known locally as “red stinkwood” would elicit the kind of attention shown to other endangered African species.  Even more so that such a tree would mean so much to male anatomical health.

Yet so it is with red stinkwood (Prunus africana), which finds itself in the limelight due to overharvesting of its sought-after bark—and limited action taken to prevent it.  “The case of P. africana is a reality check for researchers and conservationists”, said Terry Sunderland, a principal scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and co-author of a study presented at the recent Biodiversity, Sustainable Development and Law conference in Cambridge and at the European Union in Brussels.

“The last 30 years has shown that the trade in Prunus bark to be unsustainable in the long-term, yet somehow these results were not translated into practical management solutions,” he said.  “Sadly, it’s another example of where science has failed to turn into effective conservation action.”

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015