Ipe cites

Ipe CITES proposal

**The Ipe CITES proposal has been withdrawn from the CoP18. While this could be perceived as good news for importers of Ipe, it will likely lead to increased monitoring of Ipe trade flows and scrutiny at ports of entry. Ready why here.

*For updates on the Ipe CITES proposal join TIMBERCHECK™

On May 23, 2019 the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will begin its annual meeting CoP18.

At this meeting, it will be proposed that a group of tree species commercially referred to as Ipe, be included in the CITES species listing (Appendix II).

The party putting forward the proposal is Brazil.

Here is a copy of the full proposal (#49) obtained from CITES:

Proposal 49

Handroanthus spp., Tabebuia spp. and Roseodendron spp. (trumpet trees) – Inclusion in Appendix II with annotation #6

Proponent: Brazil

Provisional assessment by the Secretariat

CITES background

None of the three genera covered by this proposal have been the subject of listing proposals before, and they are not included in the CITES Appendices.

Purpose and impact of the proposal

The objective of this proposal is to include in CITES Appendix II all species in the genus Handroanthus (30 species) in accordance with paragraph 2(a) of Article II of the Convention; and all species in the genera Tabebuia (73 species) and Roseodendron (3 species) as look-alikes, in accordance with Article II paragraph 2(b). The three genera are proposed to be listed with annotation #6. Therefore, if the proposal is adopted, international trade in live and dead specimens of these 106 species, and in logs, sawn wood, veneer sheets and plywood made from them, will be regulated in accordance with the provisions of Article IV of the Convention.

Compliance with listing criteria

The supporting statement indicates that the inclusion of Handroanthus spp. in Appendix II satisfies criterion B of Annex 2a of Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP17) on Criteria for amendment of Appendices I and II; and the inclusion of Tabebuia spp. and Roseodendron spp. criterion B of Annex 2b of the Resolution.

The supporting statement provides most of the information specified in the template in Annex 6 of Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP17). Comprehensive information is provided for many elements, and for others (population size, safeguards) the lack thereof is clearly stated. There is conflicting information with regard to preferred habitat (soils with drainage problems according to section 3.2; well-drained soils according to section 3.3); and a lack of clarity regarding the role of the taxa in their ecosystem. There is also a lack of information on national legal instruments, management and control measures. No population monitoring is mentioned.

The supporting statement emphasises high levels of illegal trade originating from forests for which no harvest concessions exist. It indicates that trade in such illegally sourced specimens frequently remains unrecognized in importing countries, unless there are clear requirements to establish the legal harvest of traded specimens, as required for CITES-listed species.

Overall, the supporting statement illustrates the large and varied types of habitat for these species, for which low population densities, limited regeneration capacity and low growth rates, in conjunction with habitat conversion and high levels of illegal logging and export have led to a decrease of population size and geographic range in several range States. This has led to the inclusion of 15 Handroanthus and Tabebuia species in the IUCN Red List in various risk categories. The supporting statement also cites a recent study indicating seven additional tree species that are highly endangered, including H. pulcherrimus (section 5).

It draws attention to the high value of the trade in some of the species covered by the proposal, and elaborates on conflicting use interests between stakeholder groups, which hampers species’ management.

According to the supporting statement (section 10), the proponent consulted all range States (section 10 of the proposal).

Additional considerations (including relevant CoP recommendations)

Regarding the provisions of Resolution Conf. 10.13 (Rev. CoP15) on Implementation of the Convention for timber species, the proposal does not mention consultations with any of the expert organizations listed in paragraph 1 a).

The fact that three genera are covered by this proposal reflects that nomenclature remains partially unresolved, and that there are similarities in the timber from these species, to the degree that most of the trade occurs under the same, or very similar, common names (ipé). Historically, species of all three genera were classified in the genus Tabebuia. Additionally, there do not exist identification materials for all species of the three genera. If the proposal were to be adopted, the Secretariat notes that these challenges might require follow-up work to develop standard references for these genera.

Provisional conclusions

Based on the information in the supporting statement, trade in the genus Handroanthus appears as a factor causing the reduction in population size and range of the genus, and the genera Tabebuia and Roseodendron seem challenging to distinguish from Handroanthus spp. Thus, it appears that the species covered by the proposal meet the criteria for inclusion of species in Appendix II; for Handroanthus species under criterion B of Annex 2a of Resolution Conf. 9.24 (Rev. CoP17); and for Tabebuia species and Roseodendron species as look-alikes under criterion B of Annex 2b of the Resolution. It also appears that annotation #6 would be appropriate to list the main commodities that first appear in international trade.

For updates on the Ipe CITES proposal join TIMBERCHECK™.

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Header photo: MNHT


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