The African blackwood has been highly prized for many centuries for the properties of its heartwood; the oily, fine wood was used by the Egyptians for tomb artefacts (5), the dark, resistant wood has been used to make utensils, and the Makonde tribe of East Africa make intricate carvings, which are now an important source of tourist revenue (5). Possibly the most famous use is for the manufacture of woodwind instruments. The unique properties of the African blackwood heartwood are seen as vital for the production of top quality clarinets; it is dense, resistant, and produces a beautiful tone (4). The export of timber for the manufacture of musical instruments is an important source of income in countries such as Tanzania, where processed timber fetches up to US $13,000 per cubic metre (5). It is however, a highly inefficient process and up to 90 percent of a tree will be discarded as unsuitable (4). Whilst the mature trees are being harvested for this trade, younger specimens are under increasing pressure from man-made bushfires, which have increased in frequency as the land is cleared for agriculture (6). It is feared that the continued uncontrolled exploitation of the African blackwood tree will cause it to become commercially extinct within a few decades (5); it is already threatened in Kenya and noticeably scarcer within Tanzania (6).