Music Tree Guitars Will Create New Livelihoods in Belize and Plant Thousands of Trees

Music Tree Guitars launched a crowdfunding campaign at The Tree conference 2017, in Glastonbury England, to secure seed funding to launch. The business will create world-class guitars out of ancient mahogany trees that have been buried for centuries under water and in deep mud. All profits from the company will be used to plant endangered trees and restore degraded forest in Belize, Central America.

Selvana Conservation Ltd has been operating in Belize for over three decades and is collaborating with local communities, government, NGOs and Kit’s Guitars. The plan is to establish a new guitar workshop on the edge of the threatened forest where local craftspeople will be trained by Kit French to work the mahogany into guitars of the finest quality.

Chris Minty MBE, Director of Selvana Conservation, said:

“The Maya Forest (Selva Maya) is one of the world’s most precious – fabulously rich in biodiversity and a driver of water and climate cycles that human civilisation depends on to survive. We are delighted to co-create this innovative and ground-breaking new community enterprise which will help people living around the forest and the ecological systems alike.”

A jungle waterfall in Belize
A jungle waterfall in Belize

Globally, forests are under threat like never before, 32 million acres of tropical rainforest were cut down each year between 2000 and 2009. Recent scandals of big corporate companies sourcing illegally cut resources demonstrates how global economic forces keep up a relentless pressure to clear forests. The conservation challenge remains to find ways for the forest to be of greater value if left intact as a functioning, living and breathing ecosystem. Chris goes on:

“We  work with local people to find ways for them to earn a good and fair sustainable living without having to resort to cutting down forests. We are bringing in the skills to build great business opportunities by making connections to international markets so that the local people can achieve the best and fairest prices for their products”  

Kit French is the master guitar builder who will help train craftspeople in the art of making top quality guitars. He says:

“This salvaged mahogany is much older than trees cut down today. This means that the tree rings within the timber are much denser – literally tracing ancient historical time. This gives very special acoustic qualities to the guitars which will appeal to serious musicians and connoisseurs seeking out the richest sonic character. We are thrilled we have found a way to create superior guitars without cutting down trees.”

The team salvage an ancient log
The team salvage an ancient log

If this crowd fundraiser is successful, part of the funds will be used to document the process so that similar businesses can be set up elsewhere. Chris again:
“If we can find ways to create high-value products from salvaged or sustainable forest materials – so that the local economy can thrive, while keeping the forest ecologically functional  – we are onto win-win. These are the vital solutions that can preserve the global system before it is too late.”

Music Tree Guitars: a new community enterprise supporting the people and forests of Belize