“Somebody has to do something, it’s just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us”
-Jerry Garcia, The Grateful Dead
Jerry is no longer with us, of course, but he would be happy to hear about Music Wood, a partnership between Greenpece and musical instrument makers Martin, Gibson, Fender, Taylor, and Yamaha. The goal of the campaign is to promote the availability of instruments made from wood harvested within the sustainable forestry standards set forth by the Forestry Stewardship Council.
Spruce, Rosewood, Ebony, Mahogany, and Maple are among the “tonewoods” used to produce the musical tone musicians seek in their instruments, principally from old-growth forests, often harvested unsustainably.
Music Wood will initially focus on Alaskan Sitka Spruce, used for sound boards in guitars and pianos, harvested by Sealaska. Using Sealaska’s own numbers, the old-growth forests in Alaska will be gone in fifteen years if harvesting continues at current levels.
Sealaska has agreed to a preliminary audit with plans for a full FSC-certified assessment this summer. If Sealaska implements the recommendations of the assessment, they can apply for accreditation from FSC, helping to insure a sustainable harvest well into the future.
Guitars, mandolins, pianos, and violins make up but a small fraction of the old-growth harvest, but the market is a high profile one that can help lead the way and inspire sustainable forestry.
With the forests goes the music.