Monthly Archives: September 2016

Global rosewood market continues to tighten

rosewood

The current CITES Summit (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) in Johannesburg South Africa has voted to further tighten global trade on all Rosewood species in another attempt to save these species from extinction.

CITES says that rosewood timber is the world’s most illegally trafficked product accounting for 30% of all seizures by value.

The Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) summit on Thursday placed all 300 species of rosewood under international trade restrictions.

Here’s a report from The Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/29/wildlife-summit-cracks-down-on-illegal-rosewood-trade

Rosewood is one of the world’s premium tonewood timbers, and whilst the tonewood market accounts for only a small percentage of demand nevertheless it is a significant driver in the rosewood marketplace.

Sooner or later the tonewood market is going to have to face the reality of rosewoods bleak future.

https://cites.org/eng

Parkwood LE061

parkwood_pw_le061_body

This might just be the most beautiful commercially built blackwood acoustic guitar ever made.

Only 150 of the 2007 Parkwood Limited Edition LE061 models were built.

With Master Grade solid fiddleback blackwood back, sides and soundboard and abalone trim, this guitar is definite eye candy. The chatoyance of the fiddleback is extraordinary.

In a plush red velvet with faux crocodile skin case this guitar was designed for the collectors market.

The full page add in Guitar World magazine in 2007 was clearly designed to impress.

parkwoodxtra8811

Parkwood is the premium brand name for the Cort Guitar company based in South Korea.

http://www.parkwoodguitars.co.kr/

These days Parkwood guitars are hard to find with limited distribution. That’s unfortunate given their quality and price.

parkwood_pw_le061_headstock

I especially like the matching blackwood on the headstock.

Fiddleback blackwood tonewood of this quality is very rare. A Tasmanian Blackwood Growers Cooperative could potentially supply tonewood like this under two scenarios:

  1. Occasional arising from the active management of the remnant native blackwood forest that exists on farmland across northern Tasmania;
  2. Research is needed to determine the extent to which fiddleback blackwood can be cloned. Cloned fiddleback blackwood would then only have value within the context of a commercial blackwood plantation program.

The question remains is anyone in the tonewood market prepared to support such an opportunity?

And why am I writing about this 9 year old guitar?

Because I finally got my hands on one that’s why!

Extraordinary!!

In 2013 Parkwood released an updated version of the LE061 called the LE081CE. This model has a cut out and onboard electronics, again with limited production (only 60) and distribution. Check this out!

Beautiful!!

Here’s one currently for sale on Ebay:

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Parkwood-LE081CE-Grand-Auditorium-Acoustic-Electric-Guitar-Number-2-of-60-/252548250225?hash=item3acd0c7a71:g:rRYAAOSwzaJX2Jcz

Addendum: Here’s an LE061 for sale in the USA on Reverb:

https://reverb.com/au/item/3151805-parkwood-le061-australian-blackwood

 

Blackwood Timber Price Rises by 15%

One retailer has recently increased the price of their blackwood timber by 15% or $1100 per cubic metre!!

Here’s a chart showing the old and new prices:

abpl0916

There’s no explanation given by the retailer for the price rise.

Is it due to declining supply, rising demand, or increasing costs of production? Or is it a combination of these factors?

Is the price increase likely to affect existing or potential growers?

If forestry operated under normal market conditions then a timber price increase of 15% would cause a significant response in the marketplace.

Under normal markets farmers would be doing their calculations and deciding if and how much to invest in growing commercial blackwood.

A 15% price increase should be stimulating new blackwood planting.

But forestry in Australia does not operate under normal market conditions. In fact forestry avoids “normal markets”. Using market forces to generate new investment is fundamental to any business.

Without my detective work these price increases would be largely unknown.

By way of comparison here’s a chart showing the price list for imported American Black Walnut offered by the same retailer:

abwpl0916

Black Walnut is regarded as one of America’s premium appearance grade timbers. Most supply of this timber comes from private native forest owners in the eastern and mid-west United States, although some Americans are growing this species in plantations.

So this retailer at least regards blackwood as being on par with the finest hardwoods in the world.

So why isn’t that message (and the price) making its way back through the marketplace to help stimulate supportive policy and investment?

Private Forests Tasmania

pft

A dedicated Government agency fostering the private forestry sector seems like a great idea at face value.

Private Forests Tasmania (PFT) is the only government-funded authority established in Australia to specifically promote, foster and assist the private forestry sector on forestry matters. We provide strategic and policy advice to Government on private forestry issues and represent Tasmanian private forest owners’ interests nationally.

http://www.pft.tas.gov.au/

But as soon as you start thinking about it the idea doesn’t look so good, especially when the Government is itself a major player in the industry in terms of wood production, market domination and control, and industry policy.

What happens when Government policy is in direct conflict with the interests of private forest growers as it often is? PFT cannot come out and oppose Government policy. They are Government employees after all.

And as for providing policy advice to Government that must present quite a challenge within a policy vacuum. The PFT website has no policies so what it says to Government remains a complete mystery.

Where’s the policy for the Radiata industry?

Where’s the policy for the pulpwood industry?

And where’s the policy for the high-value appearance grade timbers industry, including blackwood?

And where are the policies around the changes that are needed to the Forest Practice Code around plantation establishment and management?

And how about some policies about greater competition, price and market transparency?

I could go on….

And what about a PFT business plan?

You know a plan with goals and objectives and performance benchmarks and criteria, and a regular review process.

At least they have Vision and Mission statements.

But that seems to be about as far as it goes.

 

Our Vision

Sustainable private forestry in Tasmania as an integral and crucial part of our social fabric, economic well-being and a healthy environment in which soil, water and biodiversity are valued and widely used.

 

Our Mission

To facilitate the sustainable management of native and plantation forestry on private land in Tasmania. This mission includes:

  • encouraging commercial wood production;
  • encouraging the use of trees in land management;
  • promoting the environmental benefits of trees and forests;
  • promoting opportunities for competitive markets; and
  • optimising returns for all parties.

 

That mission statement should be clearly divided into a Commercial Wood Production and Other sections.

Regular community forums wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

And a plan of action for implementing the 2005 National Action Statement on Farm Forestry wouldn’t hurt either.

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2016/02/25/two-significant-forest-industry-reports-that-went-nowhere/

Don’t get me wrong. PFT could be a really great organisation but it remains fundamentally conflicted whilst the Government dominates the forest industry.

The objectives of the Government as a grower, price manipulator and policy maker, are not the same as those of private forest growers.

The only basis for a successful forest industry is profitable tree growers. The PFT website doesn’t seem to mention them.