“In many regions we could be a short time away from the end of the Sitka spruce trees large enough to provide wood for guitar parts. That could change through different logging practices.”
— Bob Taylor, President, Taylor Guitars
Guitar builders require wood from trees that are over 250 years old for both aesthetic and tonal reasons; the coastal temperate rainforests of Alaska and Canada are the main sources of Sitka spruce. This forest type is considered the rarest on Earth. According to an extensive, severa-year analysis of the region’s timber market initiated by
Greenpeace, over eighty percent of southeast Alaskan timber ships to Asia, primarily for home building, with the bulk of the remaining wood used for door and window frames in the United States. In reality, guitar companies use very little wood from these forests, but the current partners believe that, together, they form a powerful coalition that can and must conserve the rare woods needed for instrument-making, as well as the forests that are their home.
“We are seeking to partner with people closer to the forest that are trying to manage these valuable, precious resources more judiciously.”
— Chris Martin, Chairman and CEO, C. F. Martin & Co., Inc.
Representatives in Alaska: (l-to-r) Larry Edwards and Scott Paul of Greenpeace, Nick Colesanti of Martin Guitar, Rob Stangelini of Fender Guitars, Bob Taylor of Taylor Guitars, Dave Berryman of Gibson Guitars
Last summer Greenpeace arranged an educational tour in Alaska for a group of representatives from all four guitar companies. “We’re starting to see similar trends with many of the species that are traditionally used to make musical instruments,” said Scott Paul of Greenpeace. “Our coalition is starting with Sitka spruce, but in the future we hope to address other tree species under increasing threat.” In Alaska, the group visited untouched forests and clear-cut tracts; they met with local communities, ecology experts and officials from Sealaska, the largest private landowner in southeast Alaska and a major supplier of Sitka spruce.
“Sustainability of wood is critical to the long term viability of our industry. If we manage our natural resources properly, we will be able to offer beautiful guitars to musicians throughout the world for generations to come...”
— Matthew Janopaul, President and COO, Fender Musical Instrument Corp
Greenpeace has been in discussions with private land logging companies in Alaska and many of their customers in the U.S. and Japan to promote FSC certification.
“The FSC is doing an exceptional job addressing what are very complex issues in a way that people can understand and implement. We are FSC certified.”
— Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman, Gibson Guitars and Baldwin Piano
Greenpeace Music Wood Campaign: www.musicwood.org