The challenge is that some of the woods traditionally associated with guitars are no longer as widely available as they once were. There are stories of new finds of the right woods turning up in the bottom of a swamp, or from a secret hardwood planting by the British Empire in years past. But ultimately, there's just not enough of some of the high quality woods around. Rosewood has now been put on the CITES list of `species that can be traded internationally only under strict conditions, and ebony is expected to follow suit.
Cole Clark have anticipated this challenge by moving to timbers that are, in their words, more sustainable. This means avoiding trees that are under threat, focusing on Australian timbers. Interestingly, they consider Australian plantations of trees that are under threat in their native habitats (e.g. Sequoia plantations) as being perfectly acceptable - a position I agree with. This move to new wood sources involves a good understanding of the key sonic properties of different timbers. My selected model is made of Bunya top, Australian Blackwood back and sides, and Black Bean finger board. It looks good, is a delight to play, and sounds great.
Of course, this is not just an issue for guitars, but applies to furniture, and this issue is likely to grow as demand for quality wood. And this reminds me of a visit I made to a group of poor farmers in Thailand back in 2003. These farmers transformed their degraded land into productive smallholdings, capable of providing their own needs for food with some extra. But also there on many farms, growing slowly, stood a mahogany tree, to pay for their children's education.