The Ebony Project 2020: Sustainable Ebony Production in Cameroon
The Ebony Project
Home to more than 10,000 species and spanning across more than 5 countries, the Congo Basin is among the world's largest rain forests, second only to the Amazon - and it is slowly disappearing. This treasured ecosystem is home to the prized Ebony tree. Due to its superior quality, tone, and beautiful dark hue Ebony has been a critical source of wood in instrumentation. This hardwood species takes hundreds of years before reaching maturity, and for this reason has become immensely threatened.
Taylor Guitars and UCLA have decided to join forces and stand against the grain in order to find a way to sustainably manage this valued tree species.
Who Are We?
We are the 2019-2020 Sustainable Ebony Practicum Team, a collection of 6 senior UCLA Environmental Scientists. Collectively, we care about how the environment affects real world individuals and communities. Our 2019-2020 team consists of: Melissa, Madison, Ciara, Breezy, Ryan, and Kevin. We chose to work on this project to see the success of this in the future and well as practice sustainable development in a country where we are not the local community. This year, our team will collaborate with Taylor Guitars, the Cameroonian locals, and The Congo Basin Institute to expand on previous years research.
What’s Been Done and What’s Happening Right Now?
Before this project started, information on the ebony tree was nearly non-existent. At the request of Bob Taylor, the owner of Taylor Guitars, UCLA students have spent the last 3 years collecting data on ebony and how to sustainably harvest it, ultimately creating an entirely novel dataset on the tree. The first year of the project looked at mapping out the distribution of ebony trees within Cameroon, while the second year of the project sought to understand and identify the pollinators of the ebony tree. The 3rd year of the project focused on discovering which areas would be best suitable for expanding the project while also considering the community who will care for the reforested trees.
Currently, the problem lies in figuring out the best way to continue to support and expand the sustainable ebony project rooted in Cameroon by clients Taylor Guitars and CBI. We are hoping to protect the longevity of a cherished species, support the creators of ebony intensive guitars, and develop the local community in a way that is accepted, desired, and hoped for!
What We Need!
The Project is currently in its four-year stage, and we need your help to keep it going! This collaborative effort will benefit local communities and ecosystems for years to come, and we hope it will carry on so that future students may also experience this amazing opportunity just as we hope to have. It is essential that our team goes to Cameroon to see how this project is affecting the local people. Our hope is to expand our project to many more villages and this cannot be done successfully from UCLA. We need to talk to the local people and work with them in their community.
Please give us your support to visit the local people, share our intentions, hear their stories, address their concerns, and assist future UCLA students to continue to better the project in the future years for sustainability. Your donations will provide the monetary expenses for our travelling, food and research materials!
How Your Donations Will Help Us!
You can help us students ACHIEVE OUR DREAMS. We are all passionate environmental scientists, and by donating you can let us explore opportunities that only a few people will get to experience!
You will be able to SAVE EBONY WOOD. Extinction is not an appealing idea, and donating to this cause will save this species of trees that people love so much yet know so little about.
You can help the PEOPLE OF CAMEROON. Villagers need to work and make a living as well, and by teaching them and aiding in their farming methods/daily routines, they can benefit from sustainable resources and increase their quality of life! After all, conservation does not work unless you are cooperating with local people.
And lastly, you will be able to MAKE A CHANGE IN THIS WORLD. Our planet is facing a lot of environmental issues such as deforestation, ocean acidification and, of course, climate change. By helping us out, you are actively saving our environment and creating better solutions for everyone on this planet.