Gibson guitars raided in federal rosewood investigation
Leading global guitar maker Gibson says it is co-operating with US federal
agents following a raid on its Nashville factory as part of an investigation
into use of endangered rainforest wood.
US Fish & Wildlife Service agents descended on Gibson's Massman Drive
factory on Tuesday under the US Lacey Act, which was recently updated to
criminalise the import of illegally felled wood, including sawn timber and
joinery products. Wood, instruments and files are thought to have been
removed by agents.
Rosewood from Madagascar is believed to be under investigation.
Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, a board member of the Rainforest Alliance,
stepped down from the group following the raid.
"Gibson Guitar makes every effort to ensure that all its wood purchases are
legal and is also working to increase the amount of wood purchased from
certified sources, including FSC-certified wood," the company said in a
"The company will continue to co-operate fully and assist our federal
government with all inquiries and information."
Rosewood is prized among guitar makers as a prime tonewood (used primarily
in back and sides of guitars) and is sourced from many countries, including
India, Brazil, Madagascar and Honduras.
Gibson is part of Greenpeace's MusicWood Coalition, along with rival guitar
makers Taylor and Martin, which seeks to increase the availability of
traditional woods used by instrument makers that can be FSC-certified.