Like many other trees, live oaks naturally form dead wood in their inner canopies. Eventually, the limbs rot and fall to the ground. The scientific name for this branch shedding is cladoptosis. It is thought to be a response to the stress of disease or drought or simply a redirection of energy toward expanding the outer canopy. Whatever the reason, this wood is fairly plentiful and available for harvest. So long as one takes only what is needed, leaving the rest on the tree to provide food and shelter for birds, termites, worms, ants, fungus, and molds, it can be considered sustainable, indeed renewable.
This instrument was part of just such a limb that clung to a tree trunk at the Austin Aboriginal Instruments workshop long after the flow of nutrients ceased, aging to perfection.
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