Timber Trade Mechanics

Turning a tree into a perfectly flat board or square block is work of some skill. Supplying such material between different countries and continents without doing any serious damage requires a great deal of care. The development of best practice in providing timbers for trade is a long work in progress. Conservation concern, economic stability, fair trade, international treaties and standards all have their parts to play in linking the tree in the wood to the tune in our ears. Here's how...
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  • CITES - The Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species
    CITES seeks to limit the threat of extinction faced by plants and animals which are traded internationally. It gathers most of the planet's nations under one set of standards for every living thing. Elephants love it. In recent years it has been called to consider the stock timbers for classical guitars, bows, clarinets, xylophones, spanish necks and fancy barrels and bells. How does it work?
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  • Forest Certification
    Forests can now be certified as being well-managed. Supply routes from those forests are linked by certified 'Chains of Custody', aiming to assure us that the woods we depend on remain happy and humming. FSC, PEFC and other marks on timber products indicate carefully crafted woodland management standards which are now cradling the world. Is it sustainable? Is it in any way musical? Bez! To find a certified b flat bombard!
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  • FLEGT - Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade
    FLEGT is the mechanism developed by the European Community to exclude illegal timber from its markets. The sharpest woody minds in all the European Community have considered and crystallised best practice in the field of forest governance alongside international trade partners around great gourdfuls of local consultation. Just emerging from the bear pits of European debating chambers. How does it work, when will it get here and how do you say it?
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  • US Lacey Act
    The USA has the power enforce at home the laws of other nations with regard to legality of timbers traded in the US. Hooray! Gulp! How does this affect the instrument trades? Sir! Step away from the mandrel!
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  • Fair Trade Timber
    Officially there's no such thing. But that won't stop us wanting it. Before any commodity may be traded and labelled as 'Fair Trade' there needs to be an internationally agreed set of conditions under which it is produced, bought and sold. Those standards are in place for coffee, bananas and cotton, but not wood, not yet... Here's some of the work in progress.
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