Love Your Wood

Everyone knows someone who owns a guitar, some people know someone with multiple guitars. Every guitar, except for the more abstract ones, has a wood neck and most have wood body as well. At least one million guitars have been sold every year since 1999, and that is just online. All of these guitars are created with wood that has been taken from a forest. For nicer guitars there are “choice woods” that give better acoustics to the guitar, and are less likely to warp. The three most used “choice woods” are rose wood, mahogany, and maple. Some prefer Mahogany in their guitars, because of its ability to give the clearest note. Rose wood makes the higher frequencies of the sounds more reverberation which is a very unique sound. Maple is favored by some because of its versatility in terms of its sounds; it can sound clear, dark, and light all depending on how you play it. Mahogany generally comes from the Caribbean and Central and South America. In Peru, the amount mahogany trees has shrunk by 50%, and, within ten years a further 28% will be logged out.

Rose wood and Mahogany are both on the Globaltrees.org’s vulnerable conservation status due to their over logging. Guitar manufacturing may not be the largest reason as to why these trees are on the vulnerable list, but when online guitar sales have been as high as the past 15 years it is apparent that the amount of wood needed to build such a vast amount is very high. Green peace has started a campaign called Music Wood, to lessen the amount of wood taken from protected forests to manufacture musical instruments. Greenpeace are currently working on bringing the forestry of south east Alaska up to FSC standards so that American guitar manufacturers will have a more accessible, and more eco friendly place to get their wood from. Currently 0 acres of forest are FSC certified, and the majority of logging is done to clear space for other businesses or to clear space for people to live in. If the Music Wood program works it will benefit the economy of Alaska, bring down the amount of wood taken from protected forests for musical instruments, and it will bring more jobs to the native people and will help their economy as well.

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