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Eben!Holz e.V. - Association for the Protection of Endangered Wood for Musical Instrument Making

"It's all about wood, and not just ebony!"


Forests around the world are in danger. Due to deforestation, land conversion, logging and hunting of wild animals, these important CO2 reservoirs are losing area. This is a threat to animal and plant species, including tree species for musical instruments. Native woods (e.g. spruce, sycamore maple, pear tree) and tropical species such as ebony, rosewood and pernambuco have been used in musical instrument making for centuries. Since 2013, Eben!Holz e.V. - an association of musical instrument makers and musicians - has therefore been supporting various reforestation projects in Madagascar, the preservation of Europe's last primeval forests in Romania and has just launched a reforestation project in Brazil to protect various highly endangered musical instrument woods, such as the pernambuco tree. 

There is no doubt about it: The threat to woods for musical instruments confronts our association members with existential challenges and our niche sector is also affected by the major ecological problems of our time.

We have decided to take a closer look! Our aim is to look for and find ways of dealing with these challenges. The preservation and protection of endangered woods is our organisation's top priority.


Our convictions:

Healthy ecosystems are essential for music as we know it.

Near-natural forests serve as a reservoir of genetic diversity. Only a high genetic variance can ensure the long-term survival of a species. This also applies to the survival of the tree species from which instruments are built. This is why the protection of entire ecosystems is so important for musical instrument making.

We see responsible, sustainable forest utilisation as a basic precondition for the use of wood in instrument making. We also attach great importance to ensuring that these are traded fairly. The difficulty for musical instrument makers currently lies in finding out which of the tonewoods available on the market come from forests that fulfil this requirement. 
Eben!Holz therefore welcomes mandatory mechanisms and controls (EUDR, CITES) that ensure minimum sustainability. Neither musical instrument makers in small craft businesses nor musicians can carry out these important checks themselves. 

We consider legality checks to be necessary. However, they do not go far enough for us. Legally harvested wood is not necessarily to be regarded as sustainably harvested wood. Only sustainable timber harvesting prevents forests and species from being lost. In view of the dramatic loss of forests worldwide and the increasing number of endangered species, it is in our interest to counteract this development with statutory minimum sustainability criteria. The EU is playing a pioneering role with its verification obligations and controls.

Ecological sustainability can only be successful in the long term if it is considered together with social and economic sustainability. This is one of the reasons why it is important for us to involve the people who live in our project areas and get them involved in shaping the future. Ideally, our project activities contribute to economic improvements for the local people.

We are aware of how tropical woods have found their way into musical instrument making. Although we are committed to preserving the tradition of instrument making, we strongly distance ourselves from the "tradition" of (colonial) exploitation of raw materials.

The pure exploitation of nature without regard to the costs caused (loss of species, loss of biodiversity, loss of valuable CO2 and water reservoirs, increased erosion,...) is no longer in keeping with the times and must be urgently overcome in order to minimise the damage caused by climate change ...and to prevent the extinction of our working materials.


27/28 March 2024
Tropical Cyclone "Gamane" passes directly over our project area in north-east Madagascar

March 2024
Our new reforestation project in Brazil has been launched.

September 2023
Artikel zu rumänischem Kahlschlag in der FR

Mai 2023
Shocking news from Brasil

2021 newly published article about ebony in "Forest Ecology and Management" TO THE ARTICLE...

  • February 2021 Beethoven Orchestra Bonn (BOB) appointed as »United Nations Climate Change Goodwill Ambassador« . BOB announces the support of Eben!Holz e.V. PRESS RELEASE
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