My guitar, a very special instrument built in the early 80s by a Vancouver builder, has an ebony fingerboard, ebony bridge, Indian rosewood back and sides, Honduran mahogany neck and high-altitude British Columbian spruce top. The nut, the small bar that holds the strings at the upper end of the neck as they pass to the tuning pegs, was originally ivory, chosen for its special resonant qualities. If it hadn't been cut from a piece of antique ivory, I'm sure it would be quite illegal.
I'm not entirely sure where I stand on the ivory question. I certainly don't want elephants killed off for their ivory. But at the same time I wonder if we don't sometimes preserve species because they have value for us. Before the invention of the motor-car, how many horses were there in New York? How many are there now?
I'm confused by the ban on Brazilian rosewood. According to the Wikipedia article, [Brazilian rosewood]
is found only in Brazil, from the eastern forests of Bahia to Rio de Janeiro. It is threatened by habitat loss, since most of its habitat has been converted to farmland. Due to its endangered status, it was CITES-listed on Nov. 6 1992 in Appendix I (the most protected), and illegal to trade.It grows in a specific area but is threatened because most of this habitat has been converted to farmland? And the solution is to ban trade in the wood, making it of no economic value? How is this supposed to preserve the habitat? Wouldn't that be an excellent reason to go ahead and convert the rest of the habitat to farmland, growing something that would be of economic value? I just don't get the logic there. Wouldn't it make more sense to have a world market in Brazilian rosewood, a natural product both beautiful and prized for its resonant qualities in musical instruments? Wouldn't that make it very desirable to create plantations devoted to growing rosewood so you could sell it into that international market? Wouldn't that result in a lot more rosewood? Surely a valuable product like rosewood would be a higher value use of the land than as mere farmland? Sometimes the way government operates, especially international bodies, makes no sense to me.
Thanks, Glenn, for the Instalaunch. Mostly on this blog I try to do some kind of music criticism, but I am at heart a libertarian and that comes out sometimes!