Spanish Cedar

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
Pepe Vergara

Spanish Cedar

Post by Pepe Vergara » Mon Jun 18, 2007 9:47 pm

I just finished listening on national public radio an interview with some expert on convervation and the results of the last meeting on C.I.T.E.S. While Bil Leave Mahogany is considered in the list of endangerous species, Spanish cedar failed to make it to the list, and there was not even a vote on it. Next time it may be considered is three years from now. That goes with saying that it seems the Spanish cedar is being abused tremendously. It seems that in Peru, only 1/3 of the wood used is reported legally. This is a concern for both, guitarmaking and our enviroment. What do you think?


Post by Lemonsieur » Tue Jun 19, 2007 1:03 am

This is really a shame. I don't know what the socio-economic situation in Peru is, but illegal harvesting of plants and animals (poaching) tends to be a big problem in countries where a large portion of the population is economically stressed. There is little thought for environmental impacts or sustainable business processes. Folks just think about the *now*, for any number of reasons. Governments in those situations seem unable to provide viable economic alternatives for people to explore.

Marcus Dominelli
Posts: 2860
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:52 pm
Location: Victoria, B.C. Canada

Post by Marcus Dominelli » Tue Jun 19, 2007 5:15 am

I read an article in National Geographic a few years ago that mentioned the poaching of mahogany (and probably Spanish cedar too) from a big National park in Bolivia.
Shortly after that I was buying some Spanish cedar here in Canada and the stack of wood I was pulling boards from was marked 'Bolivia.' I could'nt help wondering if the wood was poached.
But I see the effects of uncontrolled logging here at home. As I write this over 90% of Vancouver Island's old growth forests are gone. I have to ask myself regularly: How did we come to do this? And it's happenning all over the world.
I have my explanations, and I've read enough about human history to get an idea of what's going on and why we do what we do. But I have no easy solutions to this one. Every society from the beginning of time has deforested to some extent. This is'nt meant to be a justification for it, but it's just what we do. Maybe there are too many of us here on this planet.

But I'm a guitar maker like many of you. I am guilty of hoarding wood in my own small way. I know one day many of these woods will be scarce, like Brazilian RW.
So I'm always thinking of what other woods I could use. I try to waste very little wood, and I build the best instruments I can. I don't feel guilty for needing the best wood. Fine woodworkers barely contribute anything to this deforestation. In the tropics it's largely due to the clearing of land for pasture, hydro-electric development or cropland.
Here in Canada we deforest purely for profit. I don't see poverty as a contributor to the demise of our forests. We're a destructive species. So lets make some music!!!
(End of my story)
Marcus Dominelli

Pepe Vergara

Post by Pepe Vergara » Tue Jun 19, 2007 4:07 pm

The sad part of the story is that the US is the largest purchaser of the wood. And yes, lutherie is one of the smallest users of those endangered woods.


Post by Reis » Tue Jun 19, 2007 5:17 pm

I used to think that the impact of lutherie wasn't that big, but I found out that I was mistaken after I read this article at Allied Lutherie on Indian rosewood:

As we all can see, the Chinese have been buying rosewood enough to build 3 million guitars a year. That's no longer a drop in the bucket.

Pepe Vergara

Post by Pepe Vergara » Tue Jun 19, 2007 9:52 pm

Reis wrote: ...... As we all can see, the Chinese have been buying rosewood enough to build 3 million guitars a year. That's no longer a drop in the bucket.
I have to agree. I saw a team of Chinese men purchasing wood from a large dealer in Spain. They take the best and go first. They have the cash in hand. Also, I believe they still need to go long ways before becoming aware of protection to the environment and our Mother Earth.

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