Over several weeks, members of local communities in Cameroon collectively planted the 1,500 Ebony trees, as well as 1,500 fruit trees, in the country’s dense rainforest.
Taylor Guitars is one of the world’s leading acoustic guitar manufacturers and uses the Ebony wood in all of their products. However, the much relied upon tone wood has become under threat in Western Africa due to agricultural land conservation, the bush meat trade, and logging industries.
The Ebony Project seeks to “create a more socially responsible and environmentally sustainable model of sourcing Ebony”, according to their website, and is fully funded by Taylor Guitar’s co-founder and president Bob Taylor.
The project is a collaboration between Taylor and the Congo Basin Institute, a scientific research group that addresses the critical environmental and development issues that face the Congo Basin. The Institute also provides a platform for Central Africa’s brightest students to engage with problems facing their own region, rather than moving abroad for their studies.
For this work, Taylor was recognised by the U.S. State Department with its prestigious Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE). Also, interest from global institutions such as the World Bank resulted in the signing of a Public-Private-Partnership agreement between Taylor Guitars and Cameroon’s Ministry of Environment which will explore the possibility of spreading the Ebony Project across Southern Cameroon.
‘I’ve dedicated most of my life to building the best guitars I can make,” Taylor said, “… but now I want to make sure we’re also creating a better future for Ebony and leaving more than enough resources for generations of instrument builders long after I’m gone.”
For more information, visit The Ebony Project on Taylor Guitar’s website.