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Kenya Seeks Global Trade Restrictions On Tree Used For Wood Carvings

Kenya is seeking a global trade restriction on a tree species used for making wood carvings and music instruments, a Kenyan scientist said.

Kenya will submit a joint proposal to the Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting next month for the regulation of trade in the African blackwood, or Mpango in local vernacular, Beatrice Khayota, principal research scientist at the National Museums of Kenya, told Xinhua.

“Uncontrolled exploitation of the tree species has substantially reduced the population of the tree in Kenya,” Khayota said.

African blackwood is used in Kenya’s wood carvings industry and is also exported for making musical instruments including guitars.

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Kenya wants the African blackwood listed on the CITES appendix II so that it would be protected from over-exploitation.

African blackwood is from the family of trees that is also present in the tropical areas of Asia, South and Central America. The scientist said the tree species is a slow-maturing tree that is present in parts of southeastern Kenya.

“It takes between 30 to 40 years to mature and so it takes time to replenish the tree stocks,” she said.

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