musical instrument making and endangered species

Musical instrument making has historically used a number of exotic timber and wildlife products principally because they proved to have the best acoustical or structural properties for the job they were intended for. In modern times some of these have been adequately replaced by synthetic materials or alternate wildlife species where there is no ethical question of misuse, but that leaves behind a tradition that is found in antique instruments made long before there were concerns about the welfare of the various species. At the same time, pressures on natural reserves of particular species, especially from deforestation, urbanisation, agricultural land clearance, and the large scale timber trade place pressures on the materials that we ethically use today such as pernambuco, spruce and maple. As violin makers and musicians we have enormous concern for the natural environments, and our use of these timbers from sustainable sources is well within the limits of responsible stewardship of forests. However we are concerned that our craft should not suffer undue regulation because of the destructive activities of other industries, and have found that some of our initiatives in the past to preserve species have had a positive effect upon the environment. In 2018 the BVMA joined with other national violin making organisations to become a signatory to the foundation of L’Alliance Internationale des Luthiers et Archetiers pour les Espèces Menacées (The International Alliance of Violin and Bow Makers for Endangered Species). We continue to raise awareness of the issues of endangered species, and so far as is practicable act as a hub for advice on endangered species for violins as it relates to UK law.