Who We Are

Botanical illustration of pernambuco, Willem Piso and Georg Markgraf, Historia Naturalis Brasiliae, 1648.

IPCI-Canada, founded in 2002 as the Pau-Brasil Conservation Project, is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the conservation and sustainable use of Caesalpinia echinata, a Brazilian tree commonly known as pernambuco or pau-brasil. The heartwood of the pernambuco tree has been used for making violin bows for over 250 years but its habitat in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest has come under increasing stress and the species’ survival is threatened.

Working in close partnership with other national branches of the International Pernambuco Conservation Initiative, the specific activity of IPCI-Canada has been the development of a major publication on the conservation, restoration, and repair of stringed instruments and their bows. This three-volume book, now available, provides instrument and bow makers with the most comprehensive source available of conservation-minded techniques and its sale is also a major fundraising initiative in support of the IPCI’s broader research, reforestation, and educational activities.

For more information on the programs being funded by the IPCI click here.

IPCI-Canada is based in Montreal, Quebec, and is hosted by Wilder & Davis Luthiers Inc., who provide it with office space and administrative services.

IPCI-Canada Board of Directors:

  • Tom Wilder, President
  • Aurèle Parisien, Secretary
  • François Malo


257 Rachel Street East
Montreal, QC H2W 1E5
Tel.: 514-289-0849
Toll-free within North America: 888-419-9453
Fax: 514-289-9894

The International Pernambuco Conservation Initiative

In the spring of 1999 a small group of bow makers met at a Paris bistro to discuss their growing concerns about the pernambuco habitat. The result of this meeting was the formation, in May 2000, of the International Pernambuco Conservation Initiative (IPCI), an organization representing bow makers in ten countries. There was unanimous support to find a partnership in Brazil in order to establish a reforestation project in the Atlantic Coast tropical forest.

In 2001, after many attempts to establish a public-private partnership, IPCI representatives contacted the Comissao Executiva do Plano da Lavoura Cacaueira (CEPLAC), a Brazilian governmental institution under the responsibility of the Minister of Agriculture in Brazil. In 2004, following lengthy exchanges to develop a partnership, the Programa Pau-Brasil (PPB) was created and a reforestation project was started in the state of Bahia, Brazil.

The principal objectives of the PPB are the preservation of the genetic diversity of pernambuco and the conservation and restoration of the species. This innovative and comprehensive management plan incorporates a sustainable use strategy for pernambuco. A key element has been the reforestation effort in the Atlantic Coast tropical forest region of Brazil. Contributions to the PPB since 2004 from the bowmaking community worldwide (about 250 bow makers) and from the violin industry have amounted to more than US$350,000. Most of these funds have come from a self-renewing funding mechanism voluntarily adopted by many makers.

The publication and sale of The Conservation, Restoration, and Repair of Stringed Instruments and Their Bows is another initiative by the IPCI to bring a greater awareness to the public about the plight of pernambuco and to raise further funds in support of the PPB. By working together, future generations of bow makers, musicians, and music lovers can all look forward with optimism.