9 Aug 2011


Irish flute manufacturer, Martin Doyle, has produced the world’s first flute made from African Blackwood sourced from a Forest Stewardship Council® certified supplier.

Martin Doyle has been a prominent supporter of the sustainable use of African Blackwood for a number of years. This has included the production of radio documentaries exploring the use and conservation of African Blackwood.

In 2009, in the process of making The Music Tree, Martin travelled to Tanzania where he saw first-hand the efforts being made to manage African Blackwood.

Lessons learnt in Africa have now born fruit in Ireland with the production of flutes made from wood from the same villages that Martin visited several years ago.

Martin Doyle said: “From the time I was very young, I lamented man’s destruction of nature. It has always defied my logic and hurt me to think that we were capable of flattening thousands of square miles of forestry so we could make hamburgers or bulldoze a beautiful meadow for a car park.

“When I started making flutes I was concerned as to where the timber came from: were they just hacking down the forests or were they sensitive to the continuation and replanting of the forests?

“In 2009 I was fortunate enough to be invited to Tanzania to see how the Mpingo Conservation and Development Initiative works and I could not have been happier with any system of conservation.

“Villagers cut the trees down when they are mature and another grows right out from the stump ensuring the continuation of the species in the natural forest.

“I feel that this is a great system as within it man is working in harmony with nature.

“It is a much nicer approach than dedicating a forest to one type of tree as it leaves nature to do natures work.”

Martin Doyle is now fully committed to using FSC® certified African blackwood in all future flute production and is pursuing plans to become fully FSC certified as soon as possible.

Sound & Fair partner, Just Forests, is in the process of setting up an FSC producers group aimed specifically at Irish instrument manufacturers, and it is hoped that Martin Doyle will become a founder member of the group.

Listen to The Music Tree, featuring Martin Doyle’s visit to Tanzania

Listen to an interview on RTÉ Radio 1, with Martin Doyle talking the flutes he is making using FSC certified Blackwood