In the past, the pau brasil was an extremely important source of red dye, a trade that began in the 1500s (1). The use of synthetic dyes only became widespread in the late 19th Century, by which time the natural stands of Brazil's national tree had been all but destroyed (1). The wood is a hard and durable timber, and has been in demand for construction over the centuries (3). Today, the main threat facing this species is its exportation for the manufacture of high-quality violin bows (2). This tree is the main source of professional bows worldwide, and it is estimated that a single violin bow, which may cost up to $ 5,000, requires 1 kg of wood (5). Brazil's Atlantic forest is an extremely threatened habitat, and has now been reduced to less than 5% of its original cover (4).