Plant a tree for bagpipes.

A Christmas gift for the pipers in your life. For a bit more than $85, you can plant 60 mpingo (African blackwood) saplings for the future good of Highland bagpipers (and, one assumes, luxury phone users and builders looking for unique flooring and toilet seats).

Good Gifts, a website providing value-based holiday gifts, is extending the offer for concerned folks to fund the sustainable planting of blackwood trees in Tanzania via the African Blackwood Conservation Project. Given the fact that the trees will not be mature until 70 to 100 years from now, your piping grandkids will be the ones who feel direct benefit.

As covered in the Fall issue of The Voice, mpingo trees are a crucial part of the lifestyle and livelihood of the local population in Tanzania and Mozambique. Although legitimate supplies of harvestable timber are more than ample to supply pipe makers for many years, commercial viability of the timber is in question. Illegal harvesting and clear-cutting threaten the local ecology so much so, that the changing land use to other forms of agriculture is also threatened. Blackwood may not disappear from the landscape, but it is in real danger of disappearing from the marketplace.

Supporting sustainable timber harvesting offers an insurance policy of sorts. Far from making you a “tree-hugger,” spending 80 bucks for the long-term good of the “tree of music” seems a small price to pay to give back for all the pleasure you derive from playing Highland bagpipes.

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