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Home » Legislative Update » Know Your Bow: Tips for Owners and Users of Pernambuco Bows

Know Your Bow: Tips for Owners and Users of Pernambuco Bows


The AFM continues to work with and support international efforts to update the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) treaty. The reform, led by League of American Orchestras Vice President for Advocacy Heather Noonan, in cooperation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, examines more effective ways to protect endangered species of fauna and wild flora while ensuring the rights of musicians transporting their musical instruments around the globe.

The League of American Orchestras recently published the article “Know Your Bow: Tips for Owners and Users of Pernambuco Bows” ( It provides updated international guidance for the tens of thousands of AFM string players who need to understand rules for traveling with their bows outside of the US.

Changes to the rules that support conservation of Pernambuco wood were adopted during the last CoP19 meeting in Panama in November 2022 and further discussed at the meeting of the 2023 CITES Plants Committee this month in Geneva. The complex negotiations concluded after years of CITES involvement, research, and international negotiations, designed to make international travel and trade of finished Pernambuco wood bows easier for owners and consumers.

The online guide released by the League of American Orchestras, in partnership with the AFM, International Alliance of Violin and Bow Makers for Endangered Species, International Federation of Musicians, Pearle* Live Performance Europe, National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), and other music sector partners will be continuously updated. It offers essential information following the most recent deliberations of CITES regarding the sustainability of the Brazilian wood used in most professional stringed instrument bows.

“While travel and trade with finished Pernambuco bows, once outside of Brazil, are not subject to CITES permit requirements, bow owners and users can use the guide to learn how to take important voluntary actions to support sustainable plantations of Pernambuco and conservation efforts, document basic facts about the wood used in their bows, and be informed consumers,” says Noonan.

The AFM will continue to partner with the League and this international coalition to bring you the latest information regarding rule changes that affect musical instruments our members travel around the globe with in implementing their craft. For more information on CITES rules and regulations, contact my office at 202-274-4756.

“Musicians have an essential role to play in being informed consumers and also in understanding the value of the wood species they hold in their hand performance after performance. Partnering with the AFM in the Know Your Bow effort will make a real difference for both music and conservation of the Pernambuco species.”

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