As a life-long conservationist, I fully support the goal of protection of species of plants and animals that are threatened or at risk for extinction. This determination of this risk is made by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) that publishes its “Red List” of species of concern. Every plant and animal in the world has an official designation, ranging from “No Concern” for common species with a large range to “Critically Endangered” for those that are likely to become extinct in the next 5-10 years. There is, unfortunately, a final classification of “Extinct”.
In 1963, the IUCN adopted a resolution to form the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, known everywhere as CITES. The convention was formally established in 1975, with offices in Washington DC, and has 181 countries as voluntary signatories. The goal of CITES is to regulate international trade in endangered species. The bans on the trade of elephant ivory, rhinoceros horn, shark fins for human consumption, etc., are due to CITES regulations.
CITES maintains three appendices. A species listed in Appendix 1 is in danger of extinction and basically cannot be traded internationally except under extraordinary circumstances (e.g. scientific research) and then only after a huge amount of paperwork and approval by the convention. There are currently about 1200 plants and animals listed in Appendix 1.
Species listed in Appendix II are not necessarily threatened with extinction but may become so unless international trade is regulated. Trade in these species, of which there are currently 21,000, is allowed with the proper permits.
Species listed in Appendix III have trade bans that effect specific countries. For woodworkers, this mainly involves Madagascar and its various rosewoods and ebonies.
This photo shows a custom made bed that required 3 cubic meters of Madagascar Rosewood selling for $1 million US in a showroom in China.
How does this effect Anduril Designs?
Let me make it clear that the entire amount of wood that I have used in my career does not amount to the equivalent of one large limb of the California live oaks on my property. This pales in comparison to the 2014 seizure in Singapore of 3000 tons (6,000,000 pounds!) of 29,000 illegal logs of Madagascar rosewood on its way to China to be made into high-end furniture.
The wood species listed in CITES that directly impact
Anduril Designs are listed here:
(cannot be shipped outside of the USA)
Brazilian rosewood (CITES listed 1992)- I have six 1.5” x 1.5” by 12” turning squares and a little rough board about 18” by 6”. Some day I will actually make a candlestick out of one of the turning squares and post it on this site. I can still smell the incredibly sweet aroma of the wood just holding the turning square up to my nose, even though they have been cut probably 30 years ago. There is currently a listing on eBay for six 2” x 2” x 24” preban turning squares for $549.95.
(cannot be shipped outside of the USA)
Cocobolo (listed 2014)- I have more cocobolo than any other CITES listed wood, but it still amounts to only about 30 board feet. I have several candlesticks featuring this most excellent rosewood for sale.
Pernambuco (2007)- I have three boards of this national wood of Brazil, but I usually use its close relative chakte viga, which has the same color, is much cheaper, and is not endangered.
Honduran rosewood (listed 2008)- I have almost none of the beautiful burl, which goes for astronomical prices. See Abigail for an outstanding example.
Flamewood (2013) I have a few pen blanks and a little board of this orange SE Asian rosewood.
(cannot be shipped, legally at least, from the country of origin)
Madagascar rosewood (2011)- Apparently there is a more stable government in Madagascar that is now enforcing the export ban on logs from the country. It’s about time. I have four turning squares, a little quarter-log, and a small half-log of this gorgeous maroon wood with its spicy smell. I’ll let you know when I make something.
In addition, Brazil has recently banned the export of Brazilian tulipwood, which has served to send the price of that beautiful rosewood skyward.
IUCN Redlist- iucnredlist.org
A seizure of Madagascar rosewood, this time in Sri Lanka, in 2009 of 420 tons. Customs officials are shown examining the logs found in containers.
photos © Sri Lanka Customs
photo source: BBC news