Crackdown on Musical Bows Made from Rare Wood
For centuries, brazilwood (Paubrasilia echinata) has been used to make the finest bows for classical stringed instruments due to its unmatched ability to project sound. The wood comes from Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, one of the most threatened biomes in the world. This once abundant wood is now endangered, and its trade is regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Since 2018, Brazilian authorities have been cracking down on brazilwood smuggling. They’ve confiscated almost 150,000 bows (and sticks) and last year raided 37 properties connected to their manufacture. In November 2022, signatories to the CITES treaty voted to expand restrictions and require permits to export newly made brazilwood bows. The classical music industry and several of its stars have voiced their opposition to such restrictions, but ecologists assert it is the only way to save the species.