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)