A judge in America has ruled that more than 1,800m3 of mahogany worth an estimated US$2.5m should remain impounded at US ports.

The timber was detained due to evidence that it was illegally harvested in Brazil and traded in violation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and US law.

Brazil’s environmental agency imposed a broad moratorium on mahogany exports in October last year and the ban was renewed earlier this month.

However, according to Greenpeace, several mahogany export permits were issued by the Brazilian environmental authority IBAMA following court orders. IBAMA subsequently appealed the orders, many of which were overturned, and US officials were informed the wood was potentially illegal.

Investigations showed that none of the shipments to the US had CITES certification and Greenpeace says the importers are unlikely to get the timber back.