Agarwood was initiated into the fraternity of CITES in 2004. It landed with an “Appendix 2” classification, meaning it wasn’t outright banned, but the agarwood trade was to be “controlled.” This is to be achieved by requiring a CITES certificate for both import and export of agarwood and agarwood oil.
Roughly 5,000 species of animals and 29,000 species of plants are protected by CITES against over-exploitation through international trade. Each protected species or population is included in one of 3 lists, called Appendices (explained below). The Appendix that lists a species or population reflects the extent of the threat to it and the controls that apply to the trade.
Species are proposed for inclusion in or deletion from the Appendices at meetings of the Conference of the Parties (CoP), which are held approximately once every three years, the most recent of which was CoP (CoP 16) in Bangkok, Thailand from 3–15 March 2013.
Species in the Appendices may be proposed for addition, change of Appendix, or de-listing (i.e., deletion) by any Party, whether or not it is a range State and changes may be made despite objections by range States if there is sufficient (2/3 majority) support for the listing. These discussions are usually among the most contentious at CoP meetings.
There has been increasing willingness within the Parties to allow for trade in products from well-managed populations. For instance, sales of the South African white rhino have generated revenues that helped pay for protection. Listing the species on Appendix I increased the price of rhino horn (which fueled more poaching), but the species survived wherever there was adequate on-the-ground protection. Thus field protection may be the primary mechanism that saved the population, but it is likely that field protection would not have been increased without CITES protection.
Appendix I, about 1200 species, are species that are threatened with extinction and are or may be affected by trade. Commercial trade in wild-caught specimens of these species is illegal (permitted only in exceptional licensed circumstances). Trade of captive-bred animals or cultivated plants of Appendix I species are considered Appendix II specimens, with concomitant requirements (see below and Article VII). The Scientific Authority of the exporting country must make a non-detriment finding, assuring that export of the individuals will not adversely affect the wild population. Any trade in these species requires export and import permits. The Management Authority of the exporting state is expected to check that an import permit has been secured and that the importing state is able to care for the specimen adequately. Notable animal species listed in Appendix I include the red panda (Aluris fulgenis), gorilla (Gorilla gorilla), the chimpanzee species (Pan spp.), tigers (Panthera tigris subspecies), Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), leopards (Panthera pardus), Jaguar (Panthera onca), Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), some populations of African Elephant (Loxodonta africana), the dugong and manatees (Sirenia), and all Rhinoceros species (except some Southern African subspecies populations).
Appendix II, about 21,000 species, are species that are not necessarily threatened with extinction, but may become so unless trade in specimens of such species is subject to strict regulation in order to avoid utilization incompatible with the survival of the species in the wild. In addition, Appendix II can include species similar in appearance to species already listed in the Appendices. International trade in specimens of Appendix II species may be authorized by the granting of an export permit or re-export certificate. In practice, many hundreds of thousands of Appendix II animals are traded annually. No import permit is necessary for these species under CITES, although some Parties do require import permits as part of their stricter domestic measures. A non-detriment finding and export permit are required by the exporting Party.
2004, species under the genus Aquilaria were listed under Appendix II of CITES.
Examples of species listed on Appendix II are the Great White Shark (Carcharadon carcharias), the American black bear (Ursus americanus), Hartmann’s mountain zebra (Equus hartmannae), African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus), green iguana (Iguana iguana), queen conch (Strombus gigas), Mertens’ Water Monitor (Varanus mertensi), bigleaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) and Lignum Vitae “ironwood” (Guaiacum officinale).
Appendix III, about 170 species, are species that are listed after one member country has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling trade in a species. The species are not necessarily threatened with extinction globally. In all member countries, trade in these species is only permitted with an appropriate export permit and a certificate of origin from the state of the member country who has listed the species.
Examples of species listed on Appendix III and the countries that listed them are the two-toed sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) by Costa Rica, African civet (Civettictis civetta) by Botswana, and the alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) by the USA.