End of the Fender forest?

Greenpeace Music Wood CoalitionFender, Martin, Gibson, Taylor, Guild and others have joined with Greenpeace to create the Music Wood Coalition to preserve and manage forests.

“Somebody has to do something, and it’s just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.”, portends Jerry Garcia.

The USA guitar industry is not a major consumer. Its annually using just 150 spruce logs a year as soundboards. A sawmill cuts 120 logs per shift. But keystone forests in the USA are at risk, with some areas in Alaska exhausting their supply of old-growth Sitka spruce in just six years. About 80% of all spruce logs are sent to Asia for construction or used in US doors and windows.

“Walk through any music store and the instruments you’ll see represent a virtual who’s who of exotic and valuable timber species from the four-corners of the globe: spruce from Alaska, mahogany and rosewood from South America, ebony from Africa and a host of other lesser known species.

“Unfortunately, unbridled demand for forest products on global markets has led to the destructive and often illegal logging of the forests where these species are found. Global demand has driven many species to the point of commercial extinction and others are becoming increasingly scarce-as are the plants and animals that share their environment.

“Today less than 10 percent of the Earth’s land area remains as intact forest landscapes. Music wood is only a small part of this problem, but it can be a big part of the solution.”

In an interview at GreenBase, Scott Paul, the Greenpeace Forest Campaign Coordinator, said the campaign starts in the Southeast Alaskan rainforest, the northern most extent of the North American great coastal temperate rainforest considered too be the rarest forest type on Earth. In Alaska the Pacific Coast Mountains trap moisture rolling in from the ocean, as storms drench the region with as much as 200 inches of rain a year. The ancient trees of this forest live from 200 to 700 years, and one species can survive for 1,000 years or more.

GuitarPlayer said that “Sitka spruce—the wood used for the vast majority of acoustic guitar, piano, violin, and other musical-instrument soundboards—is being harvested at such a rate from the Southeast Alaskan forests where it grows that the end of the instrument-quality supply is in sight.”