Rosewood and Conservation

Undeniably rosewood is the tradition and the heritage of the Marimba, but.... to use another analogy; a grass field and a wooden racket is the tradition and heritage of what sport?

Much like the previous analogy, rosewood has similar challenges that limit access to the amazing experience with marimba. There are environmental limits with over harvesting, sound limits with micro-climate variations, acquisition costs, maintenance costs, and risk of breakage.

Rosewood because it is a natural product has inconsistencies and a variant of properties depending on how and when it is harvested, how its aged, how it is transported and how it is stored throughout its lifecyle.  This is one reason why purchasing a rosewood instrument strongly suggests you hear and play it before it is yours.  

The sound:  You gotta hear it  ~ Keys
Intonation, sustain and tuning variances across the fundamentals and overtones

Rosewood is unique to each instrument as each instrument is different from tree to tree so to speak...some better than others .

Each year, thousands of trees are harvested for the tonal properties of their wood, some of them  so rare that they’re in danger of going extinct. But the law, created to help save rare species of trees, has had an unexpected effect on the musical industry. Ever since the U.S. government put endangered woods on its list of items restricted for import, some guitar makers, sellers, and even musicians have worried that they could be breaking the law simply by owning or trading in wooden instruments. article

Honduras Rosewood (Dalbergia Stevensonii) is a wood of high value for today’s percussionist and for the percussion industry. It is used as the primary timber for the production of marimba and xylophone bars, and it is also used to build other instruments such as woodblocks, drumsticks, guitar fingerboards, violins, and violin bows. Additionally, the wood is sought for furniture and cabinet making.

In 2008, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) placed Honduras Rosewood in its third Appendix. As part of an international treaty with 175 member countries, the purpose of CITES is to monitor and regulate international trade on approximately 30,000 protected species. This action, requested by the government of Guatemala, placed the species under the watch and protection of CITES to prevent further endangerment. article

Wood keys are more likely to crack or need replacing, thus requiring a replacement to match your instrument.  Wood changes over time with humidity and temperature therefore wood instruments periodically require "re-tuning."