Rosewood import to the UK was banned a few years ago, courtesy of CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). The reason for this as usual being the continuing illegal logging to supply the furniture market in China and South East Asia (countries that prize rosewood as a status symbol).
Globally, up to 30% of ALL timber (worth £30-£100 billion) is taken illegally. Yes, that’s billion – not million. In Africa, India and South East Asia, illegal logging can be as high as 90%. Rosewood is now known as “the ivory of the forest”.
Guitar makers (they are called luthiers) principally use rosewood on the fret boards and for the back and sides of acoustic guitars. The reason being that rosewood is hardy and oily and stands up to human contact well, and that in acoustic guitars when coupled with a spruce top, the rosewood provides a balanced and wide range of tones.
So if you know of a rosewood tree that has fallen or needs to come down, we'd suggest you contact the luthiers, or if you know of substitutes write to us or contribute to our blog.