Tom Bedell Sourcing Mahogany in Guatemala

For centuries the largest block of broadleaf rain forest in MesoAmerica covered the lowlands of what is now, northern Guatemala  The cradle of the great Maya civilization that flourished over 1,000 years ago, this lush climate has provided habitat for the bio-diverse eco-systems while storing significant amounts of the earth’s carbon.

In recent times, like in the Amazon, rapid deforestation has occurred – replacing rainforest for grazing and farm lands. Had nothing been done, the rain forests of Guatemala may have already disappeared.

In 1990, with the help of USAID the Maya Biosphere was established, administered under the Guatemalan government’s National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP).  To provide sustainability for this critical rainforest, north Peten was divided into forestry concessions, allowing for the establishment of forest sustainability plans. Eight of these concessions are currently under the active management of local communities.  For the concessions to win and maintain forest selective forest harvesting rights, they must be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and approved by CONAP.

Bedell Guitars is partnering with one of these concessions for all of it’s mahogany guitar neck stock, Sociedad Civil Custodios de la Selva (CUSTOSEL) to help provide both a sustainable economy for the 85 families living among and near the CUSTOSEL concession and for the on-going forest sustainability through 5 year selective harvest conservation plans.

CUSTOSEL is both FSC certified and Fair Trade certified, and supported by CATIE and The Rainforest Alliance, among other groups.

We’ll be posting more media from our journey in Guatemala – so please check back soon!

Bedell Guitars only sources tonewoods from companies that individually harvest or salvage trees.  We never use clear cut trees.  Whenever possible we track the wood from the individual tree all the way into each hand crafted instrument.