by Eric Meier

The issue and ethics surrounding the utilization of trees for lumber is oftentimes both expansive and ambiguous. Not only are there questions of sustainability (i.e., given the current rate of harvesting, can a particular species continue to reproduce at a sustainable rate so that demand will not outstrip supply?), but there’s also the matter of habitat destruction (i.e., even if a tree species can be sustainably harvested from the wild, would doing so destroy or endanger other species in the same habitat?).

Further mixed into this murky cocktail is the fact that for some countries—especially poorer third-world countries—lumber is big business, and placing a restriction on such a lucrative sector of their commerce would be seen as counter-productive, and consequently actual or potential levels of exploitation may not be easily or readily discovered.

However, despite the complexity of the issue, and the incomplete or even possibly faulty data, some information is better than no information. With these shortcomings in mind, there are two international entities that will be used and cited on this website, CITES and the IUCN.


An international agreement between governments was formed in 1973, called the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species, or CITES for short. CITES has three different levels of protection for species, known as Appendices.

Appendix I – This appendix represents species that are in the most danger and are considered to be threatened with extinction, and are consequently the most restricted in international trade.

Appendix II – This appendix contains species that are at risk in the wild, but not necessarily threatened with extinction. Species in this appendix are closely regulated, but are typically not as restricted as Appendix I.

Appendix III – This appendix contains species that a certain country (called a “party” within CITES), has voluntarily requested to be regulated in order to help preserve the species in question. Appendix III species regulation is only applicable for the specific party that has requested its inclusion, and is therefore much less restrictive than Appendix I or II.

Although there are literally thousands of plant species protected under CITES, only a portion of these species are trees, and of the included tree species, only a relatively small portion of them are actually used as lumber. Thus, the list below is a condensed and simplified version of the CITES Appendices, including only the species of trees that are typically used or harvested for lumber.

Jan 2, 2017 update: Coming up at the beginning of 2017, there are a few big changes set to go into effect on the CITES appendices. Most notably, the entire Dalbergia genus (all true rosewoods) will be on Appendix II. Also, Bubinga will be listed under Appendix II, and appears that this will also include finished products made from the wood as well.

CITES Listed Species

Common Name

Scientific Name

CITES Status

Listing Date


AfrormosiaPericopsis elataAppendix II6/11/1992
AjoCaryocar costaricenseAppendix II (including finished wood products)7/1/1975
AlmendroDipteryx panamensisAppendix III (including finished wood products; wood from Costa Rica, and Nicaragua only)2/13/2003
Ash, Tamo Fraxinus mandshurica Appendix III (wood from Russia only) 6/24/2014
Bois de RoseDalbergia louveliiAppendix III (wood from Madagascar only)9/28/2011
BrazilwoodCaesalpinia echinataAppendix II9/13/2007
Cedar, SpanishCedrela odorataAppendix III (wood from Brazil, Bolivia, Columbia, Guatemala, and Peru only)6/12/2001
CocoboloDalbergia retusaAppendix II6/12/2013
Ebony, MadagascarDiospyros spp.Appendix II (wood from Madagascar only)9/28/2011
Lignum VitaeGuaiacum spp.Appendix II (including finished wood products)2/13/2003
Mahogany, CubanSwietenia mahagoniAppendix II6/11/1992
Mahogany, HonduranSwietenia macrophyllaAppendix II (wood from Neotropics only)11/16/1995
Mahogany, MexicanSwietenia humilisAppendix II (including finished wood products)7/1/1975
Monkey PuzzleAraucaria araucanaAppendix I (including finished wood products)7/1/1975
Oak, JapaneseQuercus mongolicaAppendix III (wood from Russia only)6/24/2014
Podocarp, Black PinePodocarpus neriifoliusAppendix III (including finished wood products, wood from Nepal only)11/16/1975
RaminGonystylus spp.Appendix II (including finished wood products)8/6/2001
Rosewood, BrazilianDalbergia nigraAppendix I (including finished wood products)6/11/1992
Rosewood, HonduranDalbergia stevensoniiAppendix II2/12/2008
Rosewood, MadagascarDalbergia madagascariensisAppendix III (wood from Madagascar only)9/28/2011
Rosewood, YucatanDalbergia tucurensisAppendix III (wood from Nicaragua only)6/24/2014
Rosewood, SiameseDalbergia cochinchinensisAppendix II3/13/2013
Stinkwood, RedPrunus africanaAppendix II (including finished wood products)2/16/1995
Argentine Lignum VitaeBulnesia sarmientoiAppendix II6/23/2010
ZitanPterocarpus santalinus Appendix II2/16/1995 


Note that a listing generally means that trade of the raw wood, either in log, board, or veneer form, is restricted. On some species, the restriction is even greater, and includes even finished products made of or including a protected wood: one of the most common instances of this is with guitars made of Brazilian Rosewood. In these instances, it is illegal to take such items across international borders without a proper export permit.

If you believe that the wood or finished wood product was harvested/made before the date of the CITES listing, you still cannot legally travel with or export the wood unless you have written proof or other evidence that it was obtained before the listing date. If you have the required evidence, and are willing to pay a processing fee and wait 2-3 months for processing, then you may be eligible for a Pre-Convention Certificate.

In most cases, importing/exporting raw wood listed on CITES Appendices I or II can be complicated and costly, and in most cases, is neither legal nor encouraged. Some wood is further restricted to include even finished wood products, and in all but the most exceptional cases, is not recommended.

If ever in doubt on such complicated issues, be sure to consult proper authorities to get a matter clarified.



Founded in 1948, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (or IUCN for short) is both the oldest and largest network dealing with global environmental issues. Perhaps most notably for woodworkers, the IUCN publishes what is known as The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.

Species included on the Red List fall into one of three categories:

Critically Endangered: Reportedly facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future.

Endangered: Not critically endangered, but reportedly still facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future.

Vulnerable: Not endangered, but reportedly still facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term future.

It should be noted that “the immediate future” here is relative: the IUCN uses the gauge of three generations to determine a species’ rate of depletion. With mammals and other shorter-lived organisms, this tri-generational window may only be a few years or decades. However, since trees can be extremely long-lived, (several decades or even centuries for a single generation), the overall timeline for endangered trees is generally more drawn-out than other endangered species.

In addition to the three listed categories above, there are also a few other assessments that the IUCN makes on species:

Near Threatened: Technically doesn’t meet the Red List criteria of a vulnerable or endangered species, but is close to qualifying and/or may qualify in the near future.

Conservation Dependent: Currently the focus of a species or habitat-specific conservation program. Cessation of such conservation programs would shortly result in the species being listed on the Red List.

Data Deficient: Either not enough data to make an accurate assessment, or a species’ listing has been disputed or challenged.

Least Concern: Species that aren’t near threatened, and are not dependent on conservation efforts.

It should also be noted that one unintentional shortcoming of the Red List is that it only considers the risk of extinction; broader issues dealing with habitat destruction or deforestation are not considered. Also, it doesn’t necessarily take into account the maturity of the trees (i.e., centuries-old trees are cut down, and subsequently replanted with saplings).

Red List Species

Common Name

Scientific Name

IUCN Red List Status

AburaMitragyna spp.Vulnerable
AfrormosiaPericopsis elataEndangered
AfzeliaAfzelia spp.Vulnerable/Endangered
BalauShorea spp.Critically Endangered
Bois de RoseDalbergia maritimaEndangered
BosseGuarea cedrataVulnerable
BrazilwoodCaesalpinia echinataEndangered
BrownheartVouacapoua americanaCritically Endangered
Cedar of LebanonCedrus libaniVulnerable
Cedar, Port OrfordChamaecyparis lawsonianaVulnerable
Cedar, SpanishCedrela odorataVulnerable
CocoboloDalbergia retusaVulnerable
Ebony, BrownCaesalpinia paraguariensisVulnerable
Ebony, GaboonDiospyros crassifloraEndangered
Ebony, MacassarDiospyros celebicaVulnerable
Ebony, MunDiospyros munCritically Endangered
EtimoeCopaifera salikoundaVulnerable
IdigboTerminalia ivorensisVulnerable
ImbuiaOcotea porosaVulnerable
IrokoMilicia spp.Vulnerable
KeruingDipterocarpus spp.Critically Endangered
KotoPterygota macrocarpaVulnerable
Lignum VitaeGuaiacum spp.Endangered
Mahogany, AfricanKhaya spp.Vulnerable
Mahogany, CubanSwietenia mahoganiEndangered
Mahogany, HonduranSwietenia macrophyllaVulnerable
MakoreTieghemella heckeliiEndangered
MerantiShorea spp.Critically Endangered
MerbauIntsia spp.Vulnerable
MoabiBaillonella toxispermaVulnerable
Monkey PuzzleAraucaria araucanaEndangered
NarraPterocarpus indicusVulnerable
NyatohPalaquiuim spp.Vulnerable
OkoumeAucoumea klaineanaVulnerable
Peroba RosaAspidosperma polyneuronEndangered
Pine, LongleafPinus palustrisVulnerable
Pine, Norfolk IslandAraucaria heterophyllaVulnerable
Pine, ParanaAraucaria angustifoliaCritically Endangered
Pine, SumatranPinus merkusiiVulnerable
RaminGonystylus spp.Vulnerable
RedwoodSequoia sempervirensVulnerable
Rosewood, BrazilianDalbergia nigraVulnerable
Rosewood, BurmeseDalbergia oliveriEndangered
Rosewood, East IndianDalbergia latifoliaVulnerable
Rosewood, MadagascarDalbergia baroniiVulnerable
Rosewood, SiameseDalbergia cochinchinensisVulnerable
SapeleEntandrophragma cylindricumVulnerable
Satinwood, CeylonChloroxylon swieteniaVulnerable
Satinwood, West IndianZanthoxylum flavumVulnerable
UtileEntandrophragma utileVulnerable
Walnut, AfricanLovoa trichilioidesVulnerable
Walnut, ClaroJuglans californicaVulnerable
Walnut, PeruvianJuglans spp.Endangered
WengeMillettia laurentiiEndangered
ZebrawoodMicroberlinia brazzavillensisVulnerable


Borderline IUCN Species

Common Name

Scientific Name

IUCN Status

AmendoimPterogyne nitensNear Threatened
AndirobaCarapa spp.Endangered (single species)
AnigrePouteria spp.Conservation Dependent
AraracangaAspidosperma megalocarponNear Threatened
Blackwood, AfricanDalbergia melanoxylonNear Threatened
Blackwood, BurmeseDalbergia cultrataNear Threatened
CamphorCinnamomum spp.Endangered/Vulnerable (three species)
EbiaraBerlinia spp.Endangered/Vulnerable (three species)
Ebony, CeylonDiospyros ebenumData Deficient
GreenheartChlorocardium rodieiData Deficient
Juniper, AfricanJuniperus proceraNear Threatened
KempasKoompassia malaccensisConservation Dependent
MacacaubaPlatymiscium spp.Endangered (single species)
MangoMangifera indicaData Deficient
Mesquite, BlackProsopis nigraData Deficient
MuningaPterocarpus angolensisNear Threatened
Padauk, AndamanPterocarpus dalbergioidesData Deficient
Pau FerroMachaerium spp.Vulnerable (single species)
PaulowniaPaulownia spp.Critically Endangered (single species)
Pine, HuonLagarostrobos frankliniiConservation Dependent
Pine, RadiataPinus radiataConservation Dependent
Pine, SandPinus clausaNear Threatened
PistachioPistacia veraNear Threatened
QuebrachoSchinopsis spp.Vulnerable (single species)
RengasGluta spp.Vulnerable (single species)
SugiCryptomeria japonicaNear Threatened
Teak, RhodesianBaikiaea plurijugaNear Threatened
VerawoodBulnesia sarmientoiConservation Dependent
Walnut, EnglishJuglans regiaNear Threatened
Yew, PacificTaxus brevifoliaNear Threatened


IUCN 2014. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 21 April 2014.

Another way to enjoy rosewoods…

Rosewoods posterWith all the new restrictions on rosewoods, and the dwindling supplies of rosewoods worldwide, it’s getting hard and harder to come across the wood. It isn’t hard to imagine a day in the not-so-distant-future when nearly all rosewood species will be in seen in museums and old guitar collections rather than wood shops. But that doesn’t mean you can’t stop enjoying the beauty of the wood—this is one of the main reasons why I created the poster Rosewoods of the World, a tribute to the Dalbergia genus. It can’t quite replace the texture and smell of true rosewoods, but it at least comes close to replicating the visual beauty of the wood—printed in actual 1:1 size/scale.


  1. Thomas Deleo December 31, 2018 at 2:29 pm - Reply

    Eric, a dealer friend in Europe has advised me that zitan wood is banned in China and cannot be imported legally at all. I know it is covered in China with strict trading restrictions as it is Appendix II under CITES but I have not heard it is banned from importation completely. Opine?

  2. Verlaine Schneider December 25, 2018 at 12:05 am - Reply

    Wondering about Parota wood from Mexico. Also known as Guanacaste, or Huanacaxtle. I was told it is a protected wood, but yet see it being used for many things. We would like to bring a slab back, but do t want to get arrested doing it! Or, if it is protected, wouldn’t want to contribute. Thanks in advance for any info.

    • Toon Brutchen December 28, 2018 at 6:00 am - Reply

      I m interesting to grow rosewoods : dalbergia odorifera and dalbergia tonkinensis in Thailand
      I did not see on your list from CITES . That’s mean I’m good to go for commercial growing.
      Thanks for your information .

      • Eric December 28, 2018 at 4:52 pm - Reply

        All Dalbergia species are treated as CITES app II now. Though you could look into getting some sort of export permit if you’re growing them yourself — I don’t have experience in that area.

  3. manika September 2, 2018 at 10:45 am - Reply

    Wood species and types based article good.

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  4. Jim June 17, 2018 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    Any info on a wood called “Sandalwood’s Sister”….I bought some woods from an estate that had been around for 40+ years and cannot seem to find any info on this.


    • Bob Gleason July 25, 2018 at 10:24 pm - Reply

      The wood in the upper right and lower right boxes looks like Naio. Naio grows here in Hawaii and is commonly called false sandalwood. Has a similar smell to sandalwood, but the fragrance goes away after being cut for awhile. Naio is a really great wood to work with, but is not commercially available and is difficult to get.

  5. Christine Atkinson May 3, 2018 at 12:35 am - Reply

    Do you know if mkongo wood from Tanzania can be shipped internationally? I don’t see it listed on CITES list. Also if it can be shipped is it necessary to have a permit? Thanks!

  6. Omnisphere Crack March 26, 2018 at 7:36 am - Reply

    wow. great content and nice sharing.very very useful….

  7. Mario Buttigieg March 7, 2018 at 2:20 am - Reply

    Do you know if there are any restrictions for items made from Mango ( Mangifera Indica ) to enter in to the European union from Thailand ?

  8. Erick Braham February 2, 2018 at 11:47 am - Reply

    I am about to buy a musical instrument ( bagpipes ) made of Buxus sempervirens ( Boj ), which apparently is not in the list. I will bring it to Canada, and I was wondering if I need to take some precautions to avoid problems at customs. I have known of musicians going through a lot of grief when trying to enter the country. Thank you in advance! Erick

    • Eric February 2, 2018 at 4:21 pm - Reply

      I’ve never heard of any issues with boxwood, at least not in international restrictions. If there were to be any issues, it would be down to the individual country’s customs.

  9. Tracey January 22, 2018 at 2:44 am - Reply

    Can you bring wood pieces (longboards?) from Nicaragua into Canada for the purpose of making it into a charcuterie board? For personal use not for resale. Are there any restrictions as to what can be brought in and in what state? If possible how to do I find out where to purchase or obtain the raw piece?

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  11. sim October 31, 2017 at 2:18 am - Reply

    @ejmeier Thanks for this list. It’s really useful. When was it last updated? The list is for timber relevant for lumber – would this cover any wood we would harvest for furniture?

  12. Muxammil Ak October 27, 2017 at 11:07 am - Reply

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  13. ejmeier April 28, 2017 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    I don’t know of any current restriction on chestnut. There may be local or regional restrictions in place, but nothing international that I am aware of.

    • Dane Chandler May 20, 2017 at 11:18 am - Reply

      There exists no none American chestnut trees. They are extinct.

      • Wolfgang Siebeneich February 15, 2018 at 6:47 am - Reply

        American Chestnut (Castanea dentata) is most definitely NOT extinct. While the fungal chestnut blight (Cryphonectria parasitica) has killed billions of trees starting in about 1903 and continues to do so to this day, many continue to resprout from stumps and live long enough to produce seed. Many more are planted every year and also live long enough to reproduce. In addition, efforts to find blight resistant strains of American chestnut and to produce resistant hybrids are underway all across North America as well as in other suitable habitats elsewhere. The species is still very much in trouble, but there is ample reason to be hopeful for the future.

  14. ROAMARS TM April 18, 2017 at 7:56 am - Reply

    @ejmeier:disqus This might be abit off topic. So am doing this project, and I need to use pine wood. I could either buy it from a local store for $7 or use pine that’s already at home. I would go for the pine at home, but do you reckon there would be a compromise in the quality of the wood? i.e. in terms of strength – since the testing stage of the project deals with alot of impact being inflicted on the pine wood.

  15. Dylan Alexander April 12, 2017 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    I tried to find out what type of wood my floor is, it was made in the 50’s and all I know now is that it is endangered.

  16. ATUL GUPTA April 10, 2017 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    is Indian mahogany wood restricted ?

    • ejmeier April 10, 2017 at 10:09 pm - Reply

      I assume you are referring to the species Toona ciliata. To my knowledge, it is not restricted in an international sense (i.e., not CITES listed), though there may be restrictions in place on harvesting the wood on a national level.

      • Atul Gupta April 12, 2017 at 8:19 am - Reply

        Thanks for throwing some light on it.
        yes its Toona. Would you call that an open grain wood or closed. I am trying to figure if we can use that for making kitchen cutting board.

  17. Rowland Heights ChessKraft January 15, 2017 at 12:12 pm - Reply

    I was just told that Indian Rosewood and Sheesham are now restricted by the Indian Government.

  18. IrisWall December 21, 2016 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    Pernambucco Wood for Violin Bows – Brazil – preservation project:

  19. IrisWall December 21, 2016 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    African Blackwood Conservation Project – very important –

  20. Job applicant November 28, 2016 at 12:40 am - Reply

    I can also get Lignum Vitae if you got the bucks

  21. Job applicant November 28, 2016 at 12:39 am - Reply

    I can get all of the gaboon Ebony you can pay for at $145 per board foot.

  22. zylstra November 15, 2015 at 4:45 am - Reply

    IUCN is not “the largest network dealing with global environmental issues” by either revenue or assets.

    • wolf January 26, 2017 at 2:51 am - Reply

      Which one is the biggest by revenue or assets?

  23. eaglegreen August 15, 2015 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    What is “Birch Cedar” –you listed it as an abundant wood to use, but I couldn’t find it in your CITES list, which you said I could use to look up wood. . . . ?? Help. . ..

    • ejmeier August 17, 2015 at 4:14 pm - Reply

      Huh? I don’t know of any wood on this website that would be described as “Birch Cedar.”

      But if a wood is abundant to use, it more than likely would not be listed on the CITES appendices; this list only includes species that are considered threatened or endangered.

      • eaglegreen August 17, 2015 at 4:34 pm - Reply

        In the original article I read, there were a couple of lists toward the beginning part of the article which were in bold print–I think they were abundant woods to use–and that is where I saw “Birch Cedar”. . . .I wondered if it was a ‘new’ wood I wasn’t familiar with, or if it was meant to have a comma between, or, perhaps be individual entries, one after the other. . . ..

    • Patrick Clark March 27, 2016 at 11:42 pm - Reply

      I know it’s a song, just add spruce to the end and voila, it’s a song.

  24. barry biesanz September 25, 2011 at 6:57 am - Reply

    Aji is a Peruvian chili sauce, Ajo is the endangered tree species.

    Gets huge, never been able to find seeds. Not a great cabinet wood.


    • clip art May 29, 2017 at 6:56 pm - Reply

      An international agreement between governments was formed in 1973, called the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species, or CITES for short. CITES has three different levels of protection for species, known as Appendices.

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