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2016 IoES Research for Sustainable Ebony Production in Cameroon

Raised toward our $5,300 Goal
61 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on March 13, at 11:59 PM PDT
Project Owners


November 15, 2017


Ebony is such a precious resource and takes nearly a lifetime to fully grow but only a few minutes to cut down. Therefore, we must continue our work in Cameroon to find a more responsible way of using this resource.


As a donor to last year's research, we are hopeful that you'll take action today and help a new crop of UCLA students continue this important research, which picks up where the 2016-2017 Ebony Team left off. 


From now until December 15th, you can be a part of this important research by supporting our crowdfunding campaign, which is being promoted in partnership by Taylor Guitars. Learn more about our campaign and make a donation of any size here.


It takes $12,000 to bring all six of us to Cameroon, including travel costs, visas and lodging. Even if you are financially unable to support, spreading the word to your friends, family and peers would help enormously!


Please visit our Spark campaign at, which includes even more information about the team and our research. Also, please follow our journey on Facebook: to meet the team and stay updated on progress in our research, as well as the trip we will document!


Deepest thanks,


2017-2018 Ebony Team 



November 09, 2017

Thank you to all of the generous donors to our project and the National Science Foundation for their support!


With your help, the students raised enough money through UCLA Spark for their trip to Cameroon - including their airfare, lodging, and in-country travel. This money also allowed them to purchase saplings of Ebony trees as well as other high-value fruit trees for the local communities of Bifalone (Bakas) and Somalomo (Bantus). By enabling the UCLA students to co-plant these trees with the local people of Cameroon, your contributions directly influenced the team’s ability to empower the Cameroonian people build a sustainable marketplace for ebony as well as protect the Congo Basin forests.’


Your support also allowed the students to complete valuable preliminary research on the potential to build a participatory development program for the sustainable production of ebony in Cameroon, but also for the students to shine a light on the enormous need for additional research and data to be collected on ebony harvesting and production in the region.


Stay tuned for additional information about this year's team of students working to tackle this critical problem! 




The 2016-2017 Team 

We Did It!

March 14, 2017

We have some incredibly exciting news to share about the progress of our fundraising campaign! During our crowdfunding campaign through UCLA Spark, we have been hunting down other additional funds for our research trip to Cameroon. After working with IoES financial managers, we were able to secure additional funding from the National Science Foundation that can be used toward our trip! It will provide enough money to cover our flights to Cameroon, which allows us to use the money raised during our Phase 1 and 2 Spark campaigns for in-country lodging, visas, and ground transportation.  Your generous donations, combined with the NSF support, will fully support our trip to  Cameroon. 

Thanks to your support, our trip to Cameroon is going to be more effective and impactful than we imagined. The high cost of transportation in Cameroon was a serious constraint on our trip, and we will now be able to travel to more communities and meet more experts. For example, we are in the process of adding an excursion to the village of Somolomo to visit a post-doctoral fellow who is there working on ecology of ebony. We will also get to visit additional communities in and around Somalomo who are interested in sustainable ebony production.  Each and every donation makes a difference to our project and to the goal of creating a model for sustainable ebony production.  All funds raised will go to the project in Cameroon. Without your help, we would not have made it this far, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Research Update

March 01, 2017

Our team is thrilled to announce we have finished our literature reviews and project proposal, giving us the context to establish what we will be researching and how we will achieve our proposed goals. Our view to a sustainable road for ebony embraces aspects from social, economic, scientific, and the legal realms. We have derived four research questions, including:

#1: What are the possible pathways to a sustainable ebony market and what are the prerequisites of creating one? #2: What, if any, co-cropping practices should be considered in developing a sustainable ebony market? #3: What viable economic model(s) could be feasible for the buyer (Taylor/Crelicam) and the seller (local communities)? #4: What is the optimal legal and regulatory classification for sustainable ebony stands in Cameroon?

We believe each question will help in developing a comprehensive model of what it means to be sustainable and how it can be applied to our client, Taylor Guitars. The team has decided to split the questions into working groups. Thus far, each group has drafted an outline for how they will pursue each question in order to reach our desired deliverables.

We encourage you to send any questions you may have about our research, deliverables, or further insight through our "Ask the Team" link…/1lH_m7Zbw3zX6wyqpdanPTs551c…/edit….

Additionally, if you would like to help us advance our mission to conduct research in Cameroon, please visit

Thank you!

Bob Taylor of Taylor Guitars and UCLA IoES Practicum Project

February 18, 2017

Check out this cool video posted by our senior practicum project client, Taylor Guitars, that features Bob Taylor speaking out about our project and fundraising campaign! Thank you Mr. Taylor for your continued support and enthusiasm for our project! His dedication to sustainability and ensuring a stable future for ebony shines through in his message about our team and his commitment to meeting long term community-focused goals at Crelicam ebony sawmill in Cameroon. Our team got the chance to meet him in October when he was on UCLA's campus for the Life Sciences board meeting. He personally provided insight to where he would like to see the project go. One of his biggest priorities was creating a model for sustainable ebony production that engaged the local communities and secured a financial future for Cameroonians investing their time and skills into sustainably harvesting ebony.

Interested in learning more? Check out information about sustainable ebony and the Crelicam sawmill here on Taylor Guitars' website.


Phase 2 UCLA Spark Campaign- Taylor Guitars Team

February 12, 2017

WOW! Thank you so much to our generous donors! With your help, our team has so far raised $5,670 through UCLA Spark for our trip to Cameroon. This money allows us to purchase flights and obtain Visas! At the core of this funding, this gets us to Cameroon. 

We are launching a second part to our funding campaign, and we need your help! Phase 2 will be funding our activities in-country. Our next goal is $8,000. This will allow up to pay for lodging, meals and incidentals, in-country travel, and other locally incurred costs in Cameroon. We will be traveling for nine days and our itinerary includes visits to the Crelicam ebony sawmill, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, the Congo Basin InstituteHigher Institute of Environmental StudiesWorld Agroforestry Centre, Civil Society, and a visit to an ebony producing community. By raising $10,000, we can extend our trip and spend more time with ebony producing communities in Cameroon, and potentially meet with government officials. This would be our ultimate goal and we believe that this will make the most impact.

We have come so far and we know as a team can make a positive impact in Cameroon. But we need your help! Please share with your friends, family, and colleagues the news of our project and fundraising campaign. You can do this by becoming an Ambassador for our team! You have played a vital role in our campaign by donating and we are looking for people to join our team! By becoming an Ambassador, you be signed up as a member of the team who can share a personalized link with your connections that tracks the number and amount of donations you bring in. The top 3 Ambassadors who raise the most money for the team will get a special gift from the team from Cameroon. If you are interested in becoming an ambassador, please contact our project manager, Sarah, at

Thank you, you mean the world to our team!


The Taylor Guitars Undergraduate Research Team 

The Status of Ebony

December 24, 2016

We are now at 29% of our fundraising goal! Thank you to everyone who has donated to our fundraising campaign thus far! We would like to share with you some information about the conservation status of Ebony both in Cameroon and around the world as written by our team members Diana and Abigail:

Prized for its beautiful depth in color and prominently used throughout the musical instrument industry, African Ebony currently finds itself threatened with extinction. The trees of this species take 80 years to fully mature, yet take only minutes to be cut down. Consequently, ebony now holds a place on the endangered species list and since then, its logging has been heavily restricted throughout the world. Cameroon, Africa is now the only location with the legal rights to logging and distributing African ebony. The Congo Basin forest lies at the core of the West African and Cameroonian community. Over 90% of the 1.2 billion people living in extreme poverty depend on forests for some part of their livelihoods. The forest resource is also a major contributor to national income of most countries in the continent, notably countries in the Congo Basin Sub-region of Africa. With a Cameroonian population of 15.5 million people and 45% forest coverage of the Congo Basin, it is imperative that the livelihood and health of the forest and Ebony be maintained in order to keep supplying its community with jobs and financial security.

We are all so incredibly passionate about our research and the work we will be doing in Cameroon with Taylor Guitars. None of this would be possible without your support, we really appreciate it!

Deepest Thanks and Happy Holidays!

-The Team: Abigail, Diana, Emily, Kenyon and Sarah

12 Days of Giving

December 21, 2016

We are at currently at 20% of our fundraising goal for our trip to Cameroon with 12 days left in our campaign! That's 12 days left in our fundraising campaign to give your tax deductible donation today! Our research that we conduct in country is of utmost importance to reaching our goal of a model for sustainable ebony production for Taylor Guitars and Madinter in Yaounde, Cameroon.

Our way
of Thanking You


Social Media Shout-Out

Every donation counts! In return for helping our research team get to Cameroon, Africa, you will receive a shout-out on our team's Facebook page thanking you for your donation and generous support of the cause.

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Estimated Delivery: January 2017


Handwritten Thank You Note

To thank you for your donation, we will be sending you a handwritten thank you card written by one of our team members and signed by the entire research group. (A $49 tax deductible donation)

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Estimated Delivery: February 2017


Thank You Video

As a thank you for donating, our team will send you a personalized video thanking you for your support.

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Estimated Delivery: February 2017


Personalized Photo Memoir

To thank you for a donation, we will send you a framed and personalized photo of our team in Cameroon. A picture is worth a thousand words and we can't thank you enough for your support! (A $190 tax deductible gift)

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Estimated Delivery: April 2017


Taylor Guitar Shirt

To thank you for your donation, we will give you a Taylor Guitars shirt! (A $230 tax-deductible gift!)

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Estimated Delivery: January 2017


Star Donor + Photo Memoir

To thank you for your donation, we will highlight you as a star donor on our Facebook page, and we will send you a framed personalized photo memoir of our team in Cameroon. (A $340 tax-deductible gift)

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Estimated Delivery: March 2017


Tree Dedication

To thank you for your donation we will plant a tree in your honor in California, as well as dedicate an ebony tree in your name in Cameroon. Your donation will not only help us get to Cameroon, but will also assist in reforesting two parts of the world. You will receive a picture of your tree in both locations when planted. (A $485 tax-deductible gift)

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Estimated Delivery: April 2017


End-of-Project Dinner Gala

Join us to know more about our trip in Cameroon while enjoying delicious Cameroon-inspired cuisine! (A $950 tax-deductible gift)

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Estimated Delivery: June 2017


Taylor Guitar Coasters+Gala

To thank you for your donation, we would like to give you Taylor sound hole coasters made from cutouts of the tops of guitars as well as invite you to the dinner gala being held by the team upon returning from Cameroon. (A $1380 tax-deductible gift)

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Estimated Delivery: March 2017


Tour of Taylor Guitar Facility

Join us for a tour of the Taylor Guitar production facility in San Diego and a potential meet and greet with Bob Taylor! (A $1900 tax-deductible gift)

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Estimated Delivery: March 2017


Baby Taylor Guitar + Tour

One special donor will receive a Baby Taylor Guitar and get a tour of the Taylor Guitars Facility.

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Estimated Delivery: February 2017
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