Climate change and the future of ash

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by feraledge, Sep 17, 2017.

  1. feraledge

    feraledge Heard the Good News about Maple Fretboards? Contributor

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    I've gotten increasingly fond of ash as a tone wood over the years, particularly swamp ash. I knew that there were major issues that ash trees were facing because of the Emerald Ash Borer, but in the forests I was a regular in, they hadn't really gotten in. At least at that time.
    The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) just put ash trees on their red list as critically endangered: one step away from extinction. Only 1 of 6 species of ash didn't get added to that list. Additionally,
    "The once-plentiful White Ash (Fraxinus americana) is one of the most valuable timber trees of North America used for making furniture, baseball bats and hockey sticks." Ostensibly these have gone to the guitar industry as well.
    All three species that can, when grown in swamps, be called "swamp ash"; Fraxinus caroliniana, Fraxinus nigra, and Fraxinus pennsylvanica, are now on the critically endangered list.

    The reason for this is exceptionally clear:
    There are species on the IUCN red list that CITES does not regulate, but it seems very likely that ash will end up on the CITES banned list very quickly. As it reasonably should.
    In the scheme of things, the guitar industry is hardly the biggest piece of this puzzle. But the industry acted shocked and surprised about rosewood restrictions, despite the fact that the writing was on the wall for years. Further mahogany and ebony regulations are probably creeping closer as well. There's no question that when the news of this hit, that guitar companies were kind of slapped in the face since we still see so many line ups of 2017 and even some 2018 models with rosewood fretboards.
    I think that caused a lot of indignant reactions to CITES, but shouldn't this be a reason for companies to be more directly involved in resource acquisition and distribution? At this point, it seems like WMI might call the shots for more of the logistics and production end than half the low-mid range instruments that hit the shelves.

    I'm not sure what I'd hope to get out of posting this other than to draw attention towards something that is clearly a huge and pressing matter. One that will logically worsen over the coming years.
    I have personally tried getting multiple companies to get on the phone or respond to emails with me regarding wood sourcing. They don't want anything to do with it for the most part. I think they should. Even from a company perspective, it makes more sense for them to bring that aspect of production in house just so they aren't blind sided by this as it comes about.
    Realistically, they're not going to do it until it's demanded of them or, as we saw with ESP, until after the regulations were enforced.
    At the very least, I think it's something us guitar nerds should be aware of.
     
  2. vansinn

    vansinn ShredNeck into Beck

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    Haven't had time to poke into if/not Ash is really that endangered.
    I do, however, have this nagging feeling that at least some of the CITES listings have as much to do with limiting our uses of woods as they have to do with the reality of potentially endangered woods.

    From around 2030, the human will become an endangered species as well, and restrictions will be put on using human bone as source material for nuts. Which will be nutz too..
    You may safely disregard my latter paragraph; I'm just in that morning mood.. ;)
     
  3. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace 0 0 1 0 0 6 5 0 3\

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    >We care about endangered woods
    >The pacific northwest is burning? Lol who cares.
     
  4. Lemonbaby

    Lemonbaby SS.org Regular

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    Ever since I built my seven w/o tropical woods, I feel that the guitar industry is anyway too stuck on a handful of wood species out of pure tradition. Time for a change!
     
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  5. feraledge

    feraledge Heard the Good News about Maple Fretboards? Contributor

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    Are these things exclusionary??? PNW is burning because of climate change too.
     
  6. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks SS.org Regular

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    tonewood!
     
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  7. MikeNeal

    MikeNeal SS.org Regular

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    I love ash as a body wood for contrasting dark tops. But after I use up my current ash supply I may switch to white limba or maple
     
  8. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace 0 0 1 0 0 6 5 0 3\

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    PNW always burns during the summer. Nothing special about it, though it would be nice to get some assistance.
     
  9. Grindspine

    Grindspine likes pointy things

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    In my local area (northern Indiana) I have seen almost all of the ash trees downed in the last three years. My neighborhood used to have about 25 ash trees in it. There are now none. Those ash borers destroy a tree very quickly after starting to feed.
     
  10. DistinguishedPapyrus

    DistinguishedPapyrus SS.org Regular

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    Exactly. I'd love to see more alternate materials used. Also to see many of these trees farmed on plantations to have a controlled and stable pupolation... not sure, do they do that with ash or other common tone woods?

    As far as those beetles, introduce a different insect or animal that is a predator to the beetle, thin them out.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2017
  11. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace 0 0 1 0 0 6 5 0 3\

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    If you guys think vintage guitars are overpriced now, just wait until CITES makes most common guitar woods a pain in the ass to use. The prices will explode.
     
  12. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Well, unquestionably part of the problem here is the Pacific Northwest is more populous than it used to be, and that this year the fires happen to be closer to population centers than normal... But, it's also not exactly helping that it's an unusually dry summer in the Pacific Northwest, and that models based on previous weather patterns are doing an increasingly bad job predicting the spread of the fires, as weather patterns change. It's not a record-breaking season yet, but you guys aren't out of the woods yet either.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/16/us/wildfires-western-states.html?mcubz=0

    I mean, I don't want to be insensitive here, and you live in a gorgeous part of the country and I have a couple friends in the park service on the front lines of this... But if there really WAS "nothing special about it," it wouldn't even cross your mind that you might need some assistance.
     
  13. marcwormjim

    marcwormjim SS.org Regular

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    Predictions for next NAMM: Lots of roasted ash. And Steve Lukather's hair will look dumb.
     
  14. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace 0 0 1 0 0 6 5 0 3\

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    Doesn't it always? Looks like some sort of system, like maybe a lace wig or something.
     
  15. marcwormjim

    marcwormjim SS.org Regular

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    I think he's with Dimarzio, now.
     
  16. Spaced Out Ace

    Spaced Out Ace 0 0 1 0 0 6 5 0 3\

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    I'm saying his hair is a lace wig.
     
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  17. MFB

    MFB ExBendable

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    Bolded for emphasis on where the joke came from. Lace vs. Dimarzio, etc...
     
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