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This guitar maker is looking at wood differently. Taylor Guitars, based in California, recently launched a new initiative to incorporate trees found in local areas into manufacturing practices.  Bob Taylor, the co-founder of Taylor Guitars, spoke to One Green Planet about this new program and the inspiration behind preserving forests.

The Urban Wood program is a new way for the company to identify and use sustainable wood sources. This program takes wood that has been removed from urban areas for a variety of reasons and uses it to build guitars.

Taylor, who has been in the guitar business for 45 years, said that “changes in the supply of wood we have always used,” made him want to look for new sources. Like many guitar makers, Taylor uses specialty wood from overseas in its products. But the company has found new opportunities in wood closer found to home.

“I’ve seen incredible human population growth and a corresponding growth in what we consume, and forests get converted to farmland. I think about the future, and it occurred to me that huge trees are actually often all around us every day along the highway, in little parks, at the library.  From time to time I’ve seen them removed due to their natural end of life, or perhaps disease or a storm, or otherwise because they become a danger to their surroundings. A few of us at Taylor began to wonder if there was a way to identify a species and work out a connection to convert some of those trees into appropriate lumber which we could use to make certain models of guitars,” Taylor said over email.

The company operates around the globe, with headquarters in California, sales in Amsterdam and a sawmill and replanting program in Cameroon. The company is focused on creating a “circular economy,” and the Urban Wood program is part of that.

Wood is a valuable commodity to many businesses, and deforestation is a growing problem around the world. The company hopes to “lead by example” with the Urban Wood Program.

Taylor Guitars is leading the way for other companies to follow suit.  Taylor said the company’s goal is to “find value out of what has traditionally been a wasted resource, to create jobs, maybe take some pressure off forests elsewhere, and to use our profile to educate people and to help get more trees planted in cities and towns all around the world.”

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