Pernambuco Exemption and Conservation

As a reminder, bows made with pernambuco wood are exempt from requiring a permit, provided they do not also contain ivory or other protected species. The League partnered with U.S. bow makers, NAMM: The International Music Products Association, and the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) to successfully protect the ability of orchestras to travel internationally with their instruments. At the 2007 CITES meeting, negotiators settled on adding the tree to the endangered species list, but applying the listing only to "logs, sawn wood, veneer sheets...," specifying that finished bows that are transported internationally would not be subject to CITES permit and certification requirements.

A letter from the U.S. Department of the Interior officially confirms that finished bows made of pernambuco wood can be transported across international borders.  The letter can be helpful for musicians to carry while traveling with bows as they pass through customs.

Essential Conservation Efforts

While protected species pose a number of challenges, it is important to note that the issue of conserving the pernambuco tree remains. To preserve the ability of musicians to travel with their bows—and to sustain the long-term viability of this important natural resource—orchestras can participate in the conservation effort.