Stephan Blezinger

Meisterwerkstätte für Flötenbau


CITES - new regulations for the protecion of tropical timber from 2017

The protection of our environment and the preservation of the diversity of species on our Earth is a matter close to my heart and probably yours as well.

I therefore welcome the special protection that many tropical woods have been granted through the Washington Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species, or short CITES, in its revised 2017 version . This means that these woods can only be traded, and used in manufacturing, when accompanied by document clearly setting out the supply chain. This applies to all woods belonging to the Dalbergia species including many woods used in recorder making. Apart from the various sorts of rpsewppd (Pallisander) and African Blackwood (Grenadilla), it also applies to Kingwood, Bahia Rosewood, etc.

In my workshop these new regulations only affect instruments made from grenadilla (African Blackwood).

What this means for you as player:

Instruments that you purchased before 1st January 2017 are not affected.

For instruments that you have purchased since January 2017, your invoice will serve as the documentation of origin.
It gives information about the material used, its weight and the number of parts of the instrument.

I am required to keep a record of the buyer’s details, including address, and to pass this on to the authority for environment protection).

What does CITES mean for the export of recorders outside the EU?

For me as a commercial supplier the rules have become so complicated that I will no longer be able to export instruments made from Grenadilla/African Blackwood to countries outside the EU. I regret this very much, but hope that at some stage a special ‘musician’s regulation’ in Germany will make the trading of such small quantities of Grenadilla/African Blackwood easier.

However, for you the musician it remains legal to transport musical instruments made from the protected woods, up to a weight of 10kg, across international borders.

So you can take your Grenadill instrument that you have purchased in Europe back home with you.