AFRICAN BLACKWOOD: NOT BANNED YET RESTRICTED?!
African blackwood, is a highly valued timber species that is native to Africa, particularly Tanzania and Mozambique. It is widely recognised as one of the most exceptional tonewoods used in the making of musical instruments, such as clarinets, oboes, and bagpipes. The wood is also used in the production of fine furniture and decorative objects. However, despite its commercial and cultural significance, African Blackwood is a restricted species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
African Blackwood Blanks
Why is the poaching of African Blackwood not banned but is restricted?
The answer lies in the complex nature of the timber trade and the challenges of balancing economic development with conservation. African Blackwood is a valuable resource for communities in Tanzania and Mozambique, where it provides income and supports local livelihoods. However, uncontrolled harvesting and trade of the species can lead to overexploitation and depletion of the resource, threatening its long-term survival.
CITES seeks to address this problem by regulating the international trade in African Blackwood through a permit system. The system requires exporters to obtain permits from their national authorities and provides a mechanism for tracking the trade and ensuring that it is legal and sustainable. The permit system also enables governments to monitor the impact of the trade on the species and to adjust regulations as needed to ensure its long-term survival.
African blackwood is not banned in any country. However, the trade in African blackwood is regulated by CITES, and it is listed on Appendix II of the convention. This means that trade in African blackwood is allowed, but it is subject to certain restrictions and permits are required to export it from the country of origin. The countries that have signed the CITES agreement are required to enforce these regulations to ensure that international trade in African blackwood does not threaten its survival in the wild.
Some countries may also have their own national laws and regulations governing the trade in African blackwood or other endangered species. For example, the United States has a law called the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that regulates the import, export, and trade in species listed as endangered or threatened under the law, including African blackwood.
Even though the poaching of African Blackwood is restricted, its unique density and hardness make it a favorite among woodworkers and artisans. Also, it doesn't stop from creating aesthetic high- end wood wares and instruments, making it an excellent choice for items that will be used and treasured for generations.