Extensive policy for Red Sanders conversation put forward

Extensive policy for Red Sanders conversation put forward

Amid rampant illegal felling and smuggling of red sanders, a green body has advocated a comprehensive national policy for sustainable conservation of the endemic timber species.

TRAFFIC, an international wildlife trade monitoring network working on conservation of plants and wild animals,has said the current policy regime for Red Sanders is "muddled".

"Policy making is important when a species faces multifarious threats. A sound policy will have one of the most profound impacts on conservation of Red Sanders. The policy regime appears to be muddled at this point of time as there are conflicts of situations," said Shekhar Kumar Niraj, head TRAFFIC, in a report on Red Sanders - An Ecological Boon Or An Enforcement Bane? 2015.

The endemic timber species are found in districts of Chitoor, Cuddapah, Anantapur, Kurnool, Prakasam and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh and Chegalpettu district in Tamil Nadu with sporadic occurrences in Karnataka and Kerela.

"The timber derived from Red Sanders tree is highly priced and the price is increasing exponentially - now considered a driver of the trade," the report said.

The report said that while the species has been exploited for a variety of uses in Japan and China, its domestic trade in India was not sufficiently known until recently when its large-scale use as an ingredient of ayurvedic medicines was revealed.

"A need of coherence in domestic policies and laws of the countries where Red Sanders is in demand and usually imported with Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and Indian laws cannot be overemphasised.

"A clear and comprehensive national level policy and corresponding laws for future with current development in hindsight will be essential for a sound and sustainable regime of Red Sanders conservation - a species that sheds red - of all nature at this crucial juncture," Niraj said, apparently referring to the "encounter killing" of 20 unarmed men allegedly hired by Red Sanders smugglers in Andhra Pradesh.

The report said Red Sanders is among the three most demanded wood variety for making fancy furniture in China and, with a steady rise in that country's per capita income and GDP, the demand for the timber has gone up.

The TRAFFIC report said there were other "mysterious" uses that might have driven its trade in the international market.

"One such use mentions Red Sanders extract as a potential absorber of nuclear radiations. Although this particular application is not scientifically founded, arrest of Chinese nationals in their attempts of smuggling the cut pieces of red sanders in personal baggage on at least two occasions lends substantial credence to the idea of possible mysterious usages ," the report said

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