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Notes about Pernambuco

Last Updated 6/2024 (no changes)

In the fall of 2022, CITES (which is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals from the threats of international trade) met, and voted on Brasil's recommendation to add the pernambuco tree (Paubrasilia echinata) to CITES appendix 1. Although it was not added as an appendix 1 plant (which would have classified it as threatened with extinction) it was classified as an appendix 2, which means although the tree is not now threatened with extinction, if trade is not controlled, they may be. 

This is an unfortunate move for the bow-making industry. At the moment, Brazil has put restrictions in place not allowing the exportation of pernambuco lumber or products made with pernambuco. This decision was put into place to try to squelch a long-standing illegal harvest and trade problem, in spite of numerous ecological groups planting and managing forests full of hundreds of thousands of pernambuco trees over the past several decades.

Since the fall of 2022, the exportation of pernambuco bows from Brazil has been at a stand-still, and it still is. Our vendors are attempting to work through the Brazilian government to get the proper certification to be able to once again export their products out of the country. 

Some makers have already switched to an alternate wood, Ipe (pronouced Ee-Pay). Only time and musician feedback will tell us if ipe has even a small chance of replacing pernambuco. Due to the fact we have not been able to restock our pernambuco bows, and don't know if we ever will be able to, we have raised our prices. The fine pernambuco bows that we have right now might be the last we ever see. There are still inexpensive pernambuco bows coming out of China, but these are also in short supply. 

Many U.S. makers (including Linda) have stocks of pernambuco wood for bow making. This limited supply will enable state-side makers to continue to produce fine bows, however, you should expect these prices to also go up exponentially. 

Please reference this information regarding traveling with pernambuco. At the moment, you do not need any documentation to travel with pernambuco bows (or fittings) as long as your bow does not also contain other restricted materials such as ivory.