To protect our forests, trees that have been over harvested to the point their survival is threatened, fall under an international agreement called CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). First established in the 1970s, over 180 countries plus the European Union have joined together with a shared practice of listing plant species specific to their own country that are threatened. The CITES treaty limits international trade with specific restriction depending on the species and country of origin.
To add teeth to the enforcement of CITES regulations, in 2008, the U.S.A. Congress extended the Lacey Act to include plant species, requiring accountability for the legal harvest of all trees based on the laws of the country where they grew and full compliance with CITES. This means that all guitar companies my conduct due diligence to confirm the legal harvest and chain of custody for the woods used in crafting their guitars.
Bedell Guitars respects and appreciates these global efforts to protect our forests. We are 100% in compliance with detailed records where all of our tonewoods grew, were harvested and milled. In fact, Tom Bedell has personally traveled to most of the forests where our woods grow to ensure that all regulations are complied with, that we never source clear-cut trees, and that our trees are harvested in a manner to have as little impact on the forest neighborhood as possible.
In 1992 the CITES Convention listed Brazilian rosewood in Appendix I. This made it illegal to harvest or transport Brazilian rosewood across international borders, unless there is proof of harvest before 1992. In Europe there must be documentation that the Brazilian rosewood was physically in Europe before 1992. Bedell Guitars is one of the only guitar companies in the world with a large collection of Brazilian rosewood tonewood that was shipped to Spain during the 1950’s and 1960’s. It is all fully documented. Bedell Guitars crafted with our Brazilian rosewood may travel freely around the globe as long as a Guitar Passport has been secured through the US Fish & Wildlife Service.
In 2016 the CITES Convention expanded Appendix II listings to include all of the world’s species of dalbergia (rosewood and cocobolo) and bubinga. This included a special accommodation that individuals can freely travel worldwide with musical instruments containing these woods as long as there is less than 10 kgs. (22.4 lbs.) of the threatened species in the contents of the instrument. So all guitars crafted with rosewood (except Brazilian), cocobolo and bubinga can travel globally without permits.
Any commercial activity, however, such as selling an instrument internationally, does require a permit.
With every Bedell Guitar we provide a list of all of the woods used to craft it and their county of origin. This way, when you travel with your Bedell, customs officials will know your Bedell is in complete compliance with all international laws and regulations.
In the case of Brazilian rosewood, it is necessary to have a U.S. Guitar Passport issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As all of our Brazilian rosewood is 100% CITES compliant with full chain of custody documentation meeting Lacey Act requirements, it is no problem to obtain this Guitar Passport. Please contact us or call us at (888) 234-2210 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Pacific time.