Shaky rule in Madagascar threatens trees

by Barry Bearak

Loggers at Masoala National Park. In the past year, the illicit trade in a scarce species of rosewoods has increased at least 25-fold. Photo: Toby Smith/Reportage by Getty Images

MAROANSETRA, Madagascar — Exploiting a political crisis, Malagasy timber barons are robbing this island nation of its sylvan heritage, illegally cutting down scarce species of rosewood trees in poorly protected national parks and exporting most of the valuable logs to China.