At Lawyers for Nature, our platform is typically focused on the legal aspects of protecting nature. Yet, we recognise the importance of culture in our work, and will always seek to raise the profile of any project that reflects our values as an organisation. So, this week, we present to you the latest musical developments at the wonderful Trees of Music, spearheaded by master bowmaker Marco Raposo and supported by RAIN (Regenerative Agroforestry Impact Network).
Trees of Music's activity aims to cultivate both sustainable wood use and a sustainable culture within the classical music community, while regenerating woodland and watersheds in the Atlantic Forest. In doing so, they bring together expertise that will help empower local farmers to replenish Pernambuco populations and ensure its survival for future generations.
The Pernambuco tree has been used to make violin, cello, and double bass bows for 250 years. However, due to unsustainable farming and deforestation, the species is now on the verge of extinction and the music we love is under threat. This unique species (brazil-wood) not only gave its name to Brazil, but the unique sound generated by a Pernambuco bow cannot be replicated by any other tree.
A Beautiful Collaboration with Purpose
To raise awareness of this work, Trees of Music has collaborated with Miriam Margoyles to create a very special new short film, featuring Mestre Poa, leader of the Noke Koi Indigenous Nation and his wife Rosimeire, singing Nora Sai Monote, the Noke Koi Fire Song. This is a song of bewilderment and loss from a time a century ago when their lands were invaded by strangers looking for resources, the story of their people's struggles during the rubber boom. It reminds us of the resilience of a culture living in harmony with the environment.
This project does everything Trees of Music seeks to achieve: bringing people together from different cultures, countries and environments, to communicate and collaborate. Skillfully arranged by Misha Mullov-Abbado, the music is played by Trees of Music ambassadors Orchestra for the Earth and London Mozart Players. The music video offers hope amidst the challenges faced by the pernambuco tree, the endangered species used to craft bows for string instruments.
The Plight of a Forest and its Creatures
The fact is that The Atlantic Forest in Brazil is one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. It is home to more than 20,000 species of plants and animal species unique to this forest, including endangered jaguars, golden lion tamarins, woolly spider monkeys, maned three-toed sloths and red-tailed parrot. But this unique and irreplaceable biome is at risk of permanent extinction.
Only 7% of the forest remains and this remnant is shrinking by 1-3% per year. Pernambuco trees are locally extinct in many of the remaining fragments, meaning we only have a short time to act before we lose the authentic, traditional sound of the string section forever. This project aims to have positive impacts for all involved, from the soil and creatures, to the local farmers and classical community.
Trees of Music aims to reverse the damage wreaked on the forest by:
- Planting 50,000 Pernambuco trees
- Restoring 150 springs
- Training 70 farmers to plant and care for the trees
- Regenerating 30 hectares of the Atlantic Forest
The project needs £60,000 to bring their vision to life and save the Pernambuco tree. Most of this money will go towards seeds, soil, staff and equipment to plant 50,000 saplings and restore 150 springs over the next two years. For example:
- £3,500 is for Marco and his team to collect and bag seeds for sowing
- £2,000 will help train 70 local farmers to care for the trees
- £400 will help regenerate a water spring in the forest
- £100 will plant 80 Pernambuco trees
- £5 will plant 4 trees
RAIN believes that indigenous communities, landowners, local farmers, and environmental specialists on the ground are the most knowledgeable when it comes to protecting the ancient and old-growth forest. Their projects are conceived, designed, and run by locals in Brazil and the UK, with support from themselves, to change the local surroundings for the better. If you would like to download the song for yourself, and donate to the project just head to the Trees of Music Crowdfunder page, where you can learn more about its aims and outcomes.
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