Illegal timber sales from Senegal to Gambia could see the Casamance forest depleted significantly by 2018, a former Senegal environment minister has warned.
Deforestation in the southern Casamance region has accelerated since 2010 because of the illegal timber sales, said ecologist Haidar El Ali.
Aerial footage taken during a research trip shows thousands of rosewood logs being collected in Senegal and deposited in neighbouring Gambia before being sold to China, Haidar said.
Watchdog group Global Forest Watch says Senegal loses about 40,000 hectares of forest every year in the Casamance region due to increased trafficking in timber.
Environmental experts warn that the effects of the logging will be irreversible.
In July 2015, Senegalese president Macky Sall promised to solve the problem by suspending issuance of new timber licenses and the mobilization of more security officials to combat the practice.