Pernambuco soon to be illegal?

October 25, 2022, 8:00 AM · Hi,
there is currently a great upset going on within and between German orchestras. It concerns the probable upcoming species conservation measures for pernambuco. I will post a link to a petition against that, simply because it explains the issue better than I can. I am not urging anyone to sign anything.
At least, here in Germany, there might come a deadline of three months after a positive decision of the CITES, in order to assess and register every bow, so that it can be legally owned and possibly ever be sold again. When I think of the German “sloths” in the public authority offices, I hope that I can make it in time. A friend of mine who has a small violin shop has calculated that this process of assessment and registration with all needed fees might cost him so much that it might be economically wiser to burn his bows.

We have to wait what happens but it is wise - wherever you live- to check if this is of any concern to you.


https://www.change.org/p/contre-la-classification-du-bois-de-pernambouc-à-l-annexe-1-de-la-cites?utm_content=cl_sharecopy_34730208_fr-FR%3A3&recruiter=94597150&recruited_by_id=bdda21d0-db9b-11e3-8322-0bf289e5a42f&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_initial&utm_term=psf_combo_share_initial

Replies (42)

October 25, 2022, 8:20 AM · I was just talking to my kids' violin maker about this. He seemed pretty certain that there would be an exemption put in place to allow the small amounts in bows. He also pointed out what the petition says -- that bow makers are extremely responsible when it comes to replanting trees. I hope that everyone can come to a reasonable solution on this matter.
October 25, 2022, 8:36 AM · Not a useful topic to raise in negotiations, but at some point the Brazilian monopoly on pernambuco will be broken. Government policy has apparently been based on preventing this, which happened earlier with rubber. When samples went to Southeast Asia, a lot of gazillionaires suddenly went bust and the Brazilian economy has never really recovered.

Nevertheless, it is too valuable and easy to grow, and the Brazilian borders are too big to prevent someone from stealing it eventually.

October 25, 2022, 11:50 AM · The power of a principle once set in motion is an awesome spectacle. Exactly what sort of spectacle depends of course on the nature of the principle.
Edited: October 25, 2022, 2:43 PM · For another in-depth discussion and analysis on rules and laws pertaining to
Pernambuco and the future impact on bow making, check out this link on Maestronet.

https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/355984-pernambuco-survey-cites-proposal-to-move-from-appendix-ii-to-appendix-i/#comment-983994

October 25, 2022, 10:12 PM · You know what they say here in the US: Registration is just the first step toward confiscation.
Edited: October 26, 2022, 8:55 AM · It’s probably not going to pass in its current form but that’s my opinion. The Secretariat issued a Provisional Conclusion on the matter. See pages 116-117 and draw your own conclusions.

https://cites.org/sites/default/files/notifications/E-Notif-2022-066.pdf

Edit - won't let me link the pdf page.

October 26, 2022, 10:35 AM · "..At least, here in Germany, there might come a deadline of three months after a positive decision of the CITES, in order to assess and register every bow, so that it can be legally owned and possibly ever be sold again.."

To clarify - you mean people would have to declare every bow they have? How would you specifically ID a given bow - would it have to have a serial number engraved on it?

Besides being intrusive (American here) I can't imagine owners of antique bows would be on board with that.

Various absurd scenarios come to mind - are the cops going to raid concert halls looking for unregistered bows? "Tonight the concertmaster and several other members of the Berlin Philharmonic were taken into custody tonight after a raid of the season's first concert charged with possession of unregistered bows..."

October 26, 2022, 10:52 AM · Scott, today came a mail from our orchestra to explain what we have to do: We have to register every single bow on a specific form and add a proof that it has been purchased, legally.
If registered properly, we will be allowed to travel with those bows, for three years. Afterwards, we have to do it, all over, again.
I truly don’t understand how matters could possibly change, after three years.
But most disturbingly, I don’t have proof of purchase, for most of them.
I have several bows, most of them not very high quality, I go them as a student. I bought one for which I have the receipt. And I sort of inherited three: My late former violin teacher, no children, gave away her instruments among a few of her students, so, one viola and two violin bows had been gifts. She is dead, now, I can never prove anything about these bows.
Edited: October 26, 2022, 11:53 AM · Emily - to clarify, is the registration to travel with the bow or to even own and sell them within your own country?

How are individual bows supposed to be identified?

October 26, 2022, 12:51 PM · It is to travel and own. Selling it or even giving it away as a gift will be forbidden, in any case.
October 26, 2022, 1:24 PM · It will be a good boost for pernambuco-magic mythology, and prices.
October 26, 2022, 1:36 PM · Does this apply to Brazilwood as well? My understanding is that Brazilwood comes from a different part of the same tree as pernambuco.
October 26, 2022, 1:45 PM · New OMO podcast going into this in detail. Highly reccomend.
October 26, 2022, 1:50 PM · We visited Rodney Mohr's studio and he had her play a bamboo bow he was designing...
I thought it sounded good ...
October 26, 2022, 2:54 PM · Another wonderful example of government overreach in the name of the environment.
Edited: October 26, 2022, 5:15 PM · Cotton, what a comically absurd comment.

If Brazil actually had meaningful environmental regulations and enforcement of said regulations, massive swathes of pristine rainforest wouldn't be felled every day, leading the way in mass extinction of numerous species, and bow makers and various other parties in Brazil and internationally wouldn't be calling for GREATER regulation. There is a great deal of illegal logging of Pernambuco wood going on despite government regulation, which threatens the access of parties acting in good faith. It's also certain bowmakers that are sourcing illegally logged Pernambuco and messing it up for people playing by the rules.

The need here is for GREATER regulation. There may be better options than moving the status from Appendix 2 to Appendix 1, but no one is calling for less regulation. Atlas would shrug at your myopia.

Edited: October 26, 2022, 5:20 PM · Cotton supports fascist governments like Bolsonaro, I believe, the less rain-forest the more carbon Dioxide for him to breathe
Edited: October 26, 2022, 5:37 PM · Hypoxia does have a nice, floaty, dreamy quality, Lyndon...

BTW, who knows, this might spur innovation and better bows. There are makers that are experimenting with other woods and there are other good candidates for other woods; if a replacement wood is identified and adopted, there will still need to be planning and regulation to be able to use it sustainably. I have a Pernambuco bow, and hopefully I can follow any regulations that might initially seem onerous, if I need to travel.

CF bows still trash, though...

https://stringsmagazine.com/state-of-the-heartwood-with-pernambuco-conservation-efforts-underway-makers-search-for-other-bow-wood-options/

Shoutout to Matt for the interesting OMO podcast recommendation!

October 26, 2022, 6:47 PM · Emily F wrote:
"Scott, today came a mail from our orchestra to explain what we have to do: We have to register every single bow on a specific form and add a proof that it has been purchased, legally.
If registered properly, we will be allowed to travel with those bows, for three years. Afterwards, we have to do it, all over, again.
I truly don’t understand how matters could possibly change, after three years.
But most disturbingly, I don’t have proof of purchase, for most of them.
I have several bows, most of them not very high quality, I go them as a student. I bought one for which I have the receipt. And I sort of inherited three: My late former violin teacher, no children, gave away her instruments among a few of her students, so, one viola and two violin bows had been gifts. She is dead, now, I can never prove anything about these bows."
_________________________

Emily, ouch! I too have number of bows, also a few pernumbuco boards for which the receipts are long gone, if there ever were any. Some of them may have been gifts, or been acquired as part of a trade for something else, these transactions going back as far as 60 years ago. I've got some raw ebony too.
Maybe I can sell this stuff in Russia? LOL

October 26, 2022, 6:47 PM · Well this went south fast.
October 26, 2022, 7:04 PM · The existing ban on ivory has not stopped ownership and sales within the USA and no one is having to register anything unless they're traveling outside the country, so a lot of this is just scare tactics.
October 27, 2022, 12:33 AM · Can anyone say if this applies to Brazilwood as well since it comes from the same tree?
Edited: October 27, 2022, 12:39 AM · Actually most wood called Brazilwood does not come from the same genus, much is Abeille wood, several different woods are referred to as Brazilwood
October 27, 2022, 1:03 AM · Lyndon, if this is the case for you with ivory, then the rules are probably different in the US than in the EU.
Here, the ivory rules have got much stricter, lately, too. My husband runs a small shop where he sells restored pianos. He is not allowed, anymore, to sell (or even buy) any piano with ivory keys, although it is easy to tell how old a piano is, and very often, the owners even have a receipt, also not within the country.
When he comes across an interesting old piano, he only buys it explicitly without the keys, if they are from ivory, and removes them, heartbreaking as this might be.
Piano technicians have for decades collected good quality ivory keys from old pianos that were otherwise going to waste, in order to have them at hand for repair on other pianos.
Basically, they have to throw this treasure, away, now.
Currently, there was the news that two antique grand pianos have been confiscated crossing the border to Germany. The shop that bought them for restoring and selling them, won’t get any refund for their loss. These news spread fast among the piano technicians, around here!
October 27, 2022, 1:03 AM · Lyndon, if this is the case for you with ivory, then the rules are probably different in the US than in the EU.
Here, the ivory rules have got much stricter, lately, too. My husband runs a small shop where he sells restored pianos. He is not allowed, anymore, to sell (or even buy) any piano with ivory keys, although it is easy to tell how old a piano is, and very often, the owners even have a receipt, also not within the country.
When he comes across an interesting old piano, he only buys it explicitly without the keys, if they are from ivory, and removes them, heartbreaking as this might be.
Piano technicians have for decades collected good quality ivory keys from old pianos that were otherwise going to waste, in order to have them at hand for repair on other pianos.
Basically, they have to throw this treasure, away, now.
Currently, there was the news that two antique grand pianos have been confiscated crossing the border to Germany. The shop that bought them for restoring and selling them, won’t get any refund for their loss. These news spread fast among the piano technicians, around here!
Edited: October 27, 2022, 1:50 AM · "..Lyndon Taylor
Edited: October 27, 2022, 12:39 AM · Actually most wood called Brazilwood does not come from the same genus, much is Abeille wood, several different woods are referred to as Brazilwood.."

To Lyndon or anyone else - for Brazilwood that does come from Paubrasilia echinata, does this restriction apply?

This site talks about Brazilwood that comes from a different part of the same tree as pernambuco - this is the Brazilwood I'm asking about.

http://blog.feinviolins.com/2016/02/pernambuco-or-brazilwood-whats.html

October 27, 2022, 3:39 AM · If Hilary Hahn used a carbon bow, no-one would notice the difference.
October 27, 2022, 5:15 AM · Ouch-- she's better than that!

As for pernambuco, perhaps that will mean yet another boost of interest for early Sartory, Lamy, and older sticks. Assuming there is an antique exemption.

October 27, 2022, 7:57 AM · Absolutism is the problem. We humans have eliminated a number of species of plants and animals from the planet. We also have endangered species still living, including Pernambuco.

The absolutist sees all Pernambuco, regardless of the time it was harvested, as the same. Strangely, their response is to destroy it when it passes customs. Add in the scarcity of the various species from which these products are derived and and the absolutists have created a thriving black-market for all these endangered species.

Those Pernambuco bows in your collection are getting more valuable by the day simply because of the absolutist obsession with protecting the trees.

October 27, 2022, 8:48 AM · I read once in a violin encyclopedia that the pernambuco used by 19th century archetiers basically ran out 100 years ago, and modern, younger pernambuco is inferior wood. A supplier assures me that suppliers have contacts and sources for the good stuff.

In the same way, the Hawaiian koa that was used to make ukuleles and such in the 20s and 30s is now considered to have been replaced by younger, softer, inferior wood.

Edited: November 9, 2022, 5:58 PM · I think some of OP's link has got scrambled. This is the expansion of the url my brother has sent his contacts:
https://www.change.org/p/contre-la-classification-du-bois-de-pernambouc-%C3%A0-l-annexe-1-de-la-cites?recruiter=22048616&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_initial&utm_term=16fbbe49e7e148c2896a0a256b697818&recruited_by_id=ffe9c8b0-7db7-0130-d965-3c764e049c4f&share_bandit_exp=initial-34730208-en-GB

This is what he wrote about it:
"Apologies to those of you from whom this is a duplicate…

I just signed the petition "Contre la Classification du bois de Pernambouc à l’Annexe 1 de la CITES" and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.

My first concern was that this might do more harm than good – but it appears to be a well-thought-out intervention,

so clearly this needs all the support we can give it.

You can read more and sign the petition here:

https://chng.it/nxRKRDs8kK"

(This url also works, by the way)

To that, I might add that the number of trees used in making bows might be negligible, compared with what else Pernambuco gets "used" (perhaps misused) for. I must admit, though, I haven't begun to do the sums.

Edited: November 10, 2022, 11:00 AM · I fail to see how bureaucracy punishing existing small-quantity owners in Europe will halt clearcutting of rainforests in Brazil.

Having worked in the lumber industry for a while I can say that one millionaire building a home will use more exotic lumber for one decking project than 20 archetiers will use in a lifetime. Not to mention Brazillians see pernambuco as just "the local wood" and use it for building, as fuel, for railroad ties...

November 10, 2022, 8:27 AM · Cotton, let's admit it - We're failures!
Edited: November 10, 2022, 4:36 PM · I received this email yesterday. Do I believe that bowmakers are the major predators of pernumbuco? No. But here's where things are right now.

"Message for AFVBM members

View this email in your browser
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF VIOLIN AND BOW MAKERS
Dear Members,

On November 8, Brazil's O Globo newspaper published an important news item. We've translated it for you here. Go to the end of the text for the link to the original article.

PF conducts operation against group that extracted Brazil-wood from protected areas to manufacture violins and other musical instruments

Acronyms used in this article:

PF = Brazilian Federal Police

IBAMA = Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis = Brazilian Institute of Environment and of Natural Renewable Resources

—----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In all, there are 37 ongoing search and seizure warrants in the states of Alagoas, Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo. The estimate is that the organization has illegally profited more than R$370 million (more than 70 million US$)

The Federal Police and Ibama began this Tuesday morning (Nov. 8, 2022) the second phase of Operation Ibirapitanga II against a criminal organization specialized in the illegal exploitation and commerce of pernambuco and other endangered species, which used the illegally extracted material to manufacture musical instruments such as violin bows. The investigations showed that the material was sold abroad without any control by the Brazilian authorities.

"These people extracted the pernambuco. To give an appearance of legality, they presented this pernambuco with false documents. These documents said that this wood was removed from gates and fences when in fact it was made of pernambuco logs. The wood was used to make violin and double bass bows. The musical world considers that pernambuco is the best wood to make this type of instrument and the criminal organization values this wood to export to Europe and the United States. The experts concluded that this wood was taken from the Pau-Brasil National Park," said Eugênio Ricas, PF superintendent in Espirito Santo.

In all, 37 search and seizure warrants are being carried out in the states of Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, Bahia and Alagoas. The warrants were issued by the Federal Criminal Court of Linhares, in the north of Espírito Santo.

In Espírito Santo, the warrants are being fulfilled in the cities of Domingos Martins, Santa Teresa, Linhares, João Neiva, Aracruz. Search and seizure warrants are also being fulfilled in the cities of São Gonçalo, in Rio de Janeiro; Camacan, in Bahia; and Coruripe, in Alagoas.

Also according to the institution, due to the large number of warrants to be fulfilled, in addition to the federal police officers in Espírito Santo, the operation has the participation of 50 agents from Rio de Janeiro, Bahia and Alagoas, in addition to 32 members of Ibama.

According to the Federal Police, there are strong indications that the criminal organization, which has international ramifications, was acting to benefit from the pernambuco illegally extracted from Federal Conservation Units.

"The objective of today's actions, in addition to complying with court orders, is to obtain new elements of proof to completely dismantle the criminal group dedicated to committing crimes against nature, against environmental administration and other environmental crimes", informed the PF.

Understand the Case

According to the PF, the investigations began after fulfilled inspections by Ibama within the sphere of the Operation “DÓ RÉ MI' that resulted in the seizure of more than 42,000 pernambuco sticks, in addition to more than 150 log segments. In 2021, when the first phase of Operation Ibirapitanga was launched, another 32,000 sticks and 85 log segments were seized.

"At that moment, evidence was discovered that pointed to the existence of a criminal association involving extractors, transporters, intermediaries, middlemen, bow makers and companies of production and exportation of string musical instrument accessories", detailed the PF.

The investigations also pointed out that the criminal activity consisted in benefiting the pernambuco illegally extracted from Federal Conservation Units, especially from the Pau-Brasil National Park, located in Bahia, aiming at the commercialization of the finished product in the form of violin and double bass bows, or even in the form of sticks (unfinished product) abroad, without any control by the Brazilian authorities, through fraud in the inspection agencies of the Department of Federal Revenue and IBAMA.

"The bow is the final product produced from the stick. In Brazil, the sticks are acquired for values that go ??between R$20 and R$40 (4-8 US$). The bows can then be sold abroad for up to US$2,600.00, the equivalent of R$ 14,600.00", said the PF.

Millionaire illegal profit

The PF also reported that "having as reference only the 74,000 units of sticks/bows already seized in the course of the investigation until the outbreak of the first phase and considering an average final market value of US$ 1,000.00 for each violin bow sold abroad, it is estimated that the final values ??could reach around R$ 370 million".

"This is about a modest valuation since these instruments can reach much higher market values, such as those already verified in some American stores that sell the violin bow made of pernambuco for up to US$ 2,600.00, that is, more than Rs. $14,000.00," said the PF.
Here is the link to the original article:

https://g1.globo.com/es/espirito-santo/noticia/2022/11/08/pf-faz-operacao-no-es-ba-rj-e-al-contra-organizacao-especializada-em-exploracao-ilegal-de-especies-ameacadas-de-extincao.ghtml

Sincerely,
Evan Orman
for the AFVBM Board

November 11, 2022, 1:09 AM · Extract CO2 from the atmosphere and turn it into cheap carbon bows. Planet's problems solved overnight.
Edited: November 11, 2022, 1:51 AM · David, can you tell me if I got this right? I buy maybe 70,000 sticks of pernambuco for up to R$40 (US$8) each, turn them into bows and sell them in the US for up to $2,600 each. After the "extractors, transporters, intermediaries, middlemen, bow makers.." (they'll work for peanuts) "..and companies of production and exportation of string musical instrument accessories" have had their slice this results in "millionaire illegal profit"? Sounds like a lot of work for the money. I just wonder where the illegal bow-making factories are located - deep in the Amazon jungle or the mean streets of Miami? Or is this an example of Brazilian journalistic imagination?
Edited: November 13, 2022, 3:04 PM · Sorry Steve, I don't know much more than what I quoted two posts up. I haven't been approached by anyone trying to sell pernambuco recently, so don't have knowledge about any underground trade that may or may not be going on.

However, last time I checked, most of the deforestation had to do with clear-cutting for cattle ranching or agricultural cash-crops, like sugar cane. Two of Brazil's major exports are beef, and ethanol made from sugar cane.

November 12, 2022, 12:45 AM · My job involves import/export in Brazil from the US. It is a nightmare. Other than obvious countries like Russia, Brazil is the next one up that is a PITA.
November 12, 2022, 5:24 AM · Erin, what does PITA stand for, please (The nearest Wikipedia has for what you describe is the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act (India))?
November 12, 2022, 6:02 AM · Pain In The Ah, neck!
November 14, 2022, 1:26 PM · Adrian, I think we've all got the message. Thanks!
November 14, 2022, 5:20 PM · Adrian, thank you - and without your embarrassing poor Erin, too. Well done!

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