Tree used for violin bows gets U.N. protection, others slip through the cracks

A threatened tree species used in high-quality violin bows gained new protections yesterday — and so did the violin bows. The U.N.’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species added brazilwood to the list of nearly 40,000 species it regulates. Originally, the guidelines would have required violinists to carry permits when bringing their brazilwood bows through customs, but they got a last-minute reprieve; only travelers transporting raw wood will need permits. Whew. “We are inspired by the hope that [the species] will remain a feature of our landscape and continue to delight us in the hands of musicians across the world,” said delegate Fernando Coimbra of Brazil, the only country where the tree grows in the wild. Three other species didn’t fare so well: the Spanish cedar and two types of rosewood were denied protection under a plan that would have required timber to be licensed. Said delegates from South and Central America, where the trees are harvested: “Nothing to see here, folks.”