Project

Global Timber Tracking Network

Goal: The GTTN wants to bring together professionals from research, business, (non-)governmental organisations to further develop, apply and promote timber tracking tools to meet the challenge of combating deforestation (linked to illegal logging and trade) and securing forest management that benefits forests, economies and people.

Methods: Wood Anatomy, DNA Fingerprinting, Spectrometry Types, Stable Isotope Forensics

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Jutta Buschbom
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The recent review by Melita Low and colleagues (2022; DOI:10.1163/22941932-bja10097) titled “Tracing the world’s timber: the status of scientific verification technologies for species and origin identification” provides an excellent and comprehensive update on today's strengths and challenges of approaches for monitoring, certification and forensic tracking that have the goal to provide tools for the protection of natural and managed forests, timber species and, thus, the environments and livelihoods of indigenous peoples and local communities, societies, as well as the economic foundations of countries.
In their assessment of the current status for identifying the geographic origin of samples, the authors state that continuing at the current rate "it will take approx. 27 years to generate geographic data for all 322 priority taxa", likely too long given the accelerating biodiversity crisis. Subsequently, they carefully explore barriers for the transition from research to operational forensic tool and at the same time propose insightful and forward-looking approaches to overcome these barriers and foster progress in a complex transdisciplinary context involving many stakeholders from different sectors.
One of the identified challenges for achieving capacity fit for operation is the highlighted requirement for “extensive sample collections representing the range of populations within a species”. As they point out, this has been in the air for a while and some time ago I elucidated the theoretical and statistical background of such a statement (DOI: 10.3220/REP1539879578000; I know, its statistics – though really, think about it, posterior predictive distributions are simply and brilliantly cool!).
To reduce some of the costs associated with assembling distribution-range wide reference sets of samples and data, Low and co-authors suggest to utilize existing reference sample collections, or specimens and tissue vouchers preserved in herbaria and xylaria. Here I would like to reach out and invite you to explore and get to know the very active and friendly collections community. This fall provides three (to four) easily accessible opportunities to interact with collection professionals, biodiversity scientists and biodiversity informaticians associated with natural science collections.
Next week, running through September, colleagues and I are organizing the open “Connecting Collections” virtual workshop series as part of a Capacity Enhancement Support Program-project funded by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). The project focuses on natural science collections in Latin America and the Caribbean, with the aim to increase the visibility of natural science collections in the region and to strengthen the presence of collections in the GBIF Registry of Scientific Collection, which is developing into the primary global catalog for providers of biodiversity data. Should you have become interested and would like to know more, please go to https://statistical-genetics.com/2022/08/connecting-collections-workshop-series/.
Continuing from there, you have the chance to find out that this are exciting times to be working towards digitizing, harmonizing and interlinking the wealth of biodiversity data from natural science collections. Currently the next generation of data infrastructures is under intense discussion and development based on the Digital Extended Specimen (DES) concept, see Hardisty et al. 2022 (https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biac060).
To learn more about the DES and its progress towards implementation, consider joining BioDigiCon 2022 organized by iDigBio (https://www.idigbio.org/content/biodigicon-2022), Sept. 27-29. Subsequently TDWG 2022 (https://www.tdwg.org/conferences/2022/) provides another opportunity to connect with the collections community, specifically with its members engaged in standard and infrastructure development. Both meetings have a session introducing the DES to the communities. Should you be interested in getting to know more and wanting to dive into the technical background, consider traveling in October directly from Sofia (TDWG 2022) to Leiden for the 1st International FDO Conference (https://www.fdo2022.org/), offering three days of immersion into FAIR and CARE digital objects and the specifics of implementing the digital object architecture.
Exciting developments are under way today in many disciplines. Combining our expertise, resources and engagement will allow us to overcome challenges and address the biodiversity crisis as well as societies’ needs.
Build Bridges!
Jutta Buschbom
 
Gerald Koch
added a research item
App macroHOLZdata The knowledge about recognition and utilization of the most important internationally traded timbers is of prime importance to forestry and wood industry as well as timber trade and even control authorities. As an important tool for this purpose, the database macroHOLZdata developed at the Thünen Institute for Wood Research has been programmed as an app for smartphones and tablets. The macroHOLZdata app offers: • interactive identification of 150 common trade timbers (hardwoods and softwoods) based on macroscopic features to be observed with the unaided eye or with a hand lens, • high-quality illustrations of wood characters and timbers featuring transverse and longitudinal surfaces, • a database offering pertinent information on wood properties, processing, and utilization. The app is also ideal suited for further education and training in forestry and timber industry as well as self-study for all those interested in wood. https://apps.apple.com/de/app/macroholzdata/id1120922391?l=en
Nele Schmitz
added an update
International Category
Open to project leaders non headquartered in France, coming from the academic world and not having been the subject of industrial production and/or commercializations over 100,000 euros in turnover and having less than 3 years of existence.
5,000 € in cash prize
Contact with French Industrials, Investors, fundraisers, start upers
Media coverage
Deadline: 12th December
 
Iskandar Z Siregar
added 2 research items
Ebony (Diospyros celebica Bakh.) is an endemic plant on Celebes (Sulawesi) island. Extractive compounds within ebony wood cause it to have durability, strength, and beautiful patterns. In this study, we used near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy to discriminate between ebony wood samples, based on their origins at different growth sites on Celebes island, and to develop quantitative models to predict the extractive content of ebony wood. A total of 45 wood meal samples from 11 sites located in West, Central, and South Celebes were collected in this study. NIR spectral data were acquired from hot water and ethanol–benzene soluble extracts from ebony wood in this study. The extractive content of the ebony was 10.408% and 10.774% based on hot water solubility and treatment with ethanol–benzene solvent, respectively. Multivariate analysis based on principal component analysis–discriminant analysis revealed that ebony wood from West Celebes differed from most of the wood from South Celebes; however, it was only slightly different from ebony wood from Central Celebes based on NIR spectra data. These findings were in line with the extractive contents obtained. Partial least square regression models based on wood meal spectra could potentially be used to estimate the hot water and ethanol–benzene extractive contents from ebony wood.
Objectives Development of sequencing technology has opened up vast opportunities for tree genomic research in the tropics. One of the aforesaid technologies named ONT (Oxford Nanopore Technology) has attracted researchers in undertaking testings and experiments due to its affordability and accessibility. To the best of our knowledge, there has been no published reports on the use of ONT for genomic analysis of Indonesian tree species. This progress is promising for further improvement in order to acquire more genomic data for research purposes. Therefore, the present study was carried out to determine the effectiveness of ONT in generating long-read DNA sequences using DNA isolated from leaves and wood cores of Macassar ebony ( Diospyros celebica Bakh.). Data description Long-read sequences data of leaves and wood cores of Macassar ebony were generated by using the MinION device and MinKnow v3.6.5 (ONT). The obtained data, as the first long-read sequence dataset for Macassar ebony , is of great importance to conserve the genetic diversity, understanding the molecular mechanism, and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for downstream applications.
Nele Schmitz
added an update
A webinar by Prof. Dr. Jez Willian Batista Braga from the Universidade de Brasília (Laboratório de Automação, Quimiometria e Química Ambiental, www.aqqua.unb.br) on wood identification.
The webinar has a brief introduction about the Amazon, the deforestation problem, wood trade and then talks about wood anatomy, DART-MS, and NIRS, focusing on NIRS.
 
Volker Haag
added a research item
Background and aims Against the background of a sustainable exploratory use of Peruvian timber resources, the local institutions CITEmadera and CITEforestal are to be supported in the training of experts for the Peruvian forestry and timber industry sector and crafts. The aim of the project financed by the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ) is to impart basic knowledge for the sustainable use of lesser-known wood species mainly from afforestation instead of the overuse of heavy parquet wood species from natural forests. In addition, the access of Peruvian wood scientists to international networks is to be facilitated.
Volker Haag
added a research item
Key message Wavy grain, a rare figure type of wood, leads to highly priced timber in Acer pseudoplatanus L. The influence of this trait on growth performance and its causes are not known. Analyzed wavy and straight grain sycamore maple progenies show comparable growth performance in a field trial. Stability of wavy grain after vegetative propagation is confirmed and genetic inheritance indicated. • Context Wavy grain is a rare figure type of wood resulting from undulating fiber growth that leads to a decorative and highly priced timber in Acer pseudoplatanus L. with top positions on auction sales. Nevertheless, neither the influence of this trait on growth performance is known, nor have the causes been disentangled. • Aims Our objectives were to find out if wavy grain figure influences growth parameters essential for log quality and to gain insight into the causes of wavy grain by the analysis of a progeny trial and a seed orchard. • Methods In a progeny trial with 30-year-old F-1-offspring from selected wavy grained and straight grained trees, trunk diameter, tree height, and trunk shape were evaluated. Additionally, 21 trees of the trial and selected plus tree-grafts of a seed orchard were felled and analyzed for occurrence and intensity of wavy grain structure. • Results No effect of the wavy and straight grain parentage on growth was observed in the progeny trial. Of the felled trees, over 30% showed evidence of wavy grain compared to rare occurrence in natural stands. Wood structure analysis of plus tree scions confirmed the stability of wavy grain after vegetative propagation. • Conclusion Wavy grain seems to be genetically inherited, and there seems to be no statistically significant difference in commercially relevant traits in the progeny. This highlights the value of including wavy grain as a desired attribute in breeding systems of maple.
Alexandre Magno Sebbenn
added a research item
Pressure on tropical forests by agriculture and livestock expansion, frequently leads to highly fragmented and isolated populations. Limited gene flow drives increased drift and genetic differentiation among populations, ultimately reducing the overall genetic diversity of forest tree species. Balforoudendron riedelianum (Engl.) Engl., commonly known as Pau Marfim (Ivory Tree), a valuable Brazilian hardwood tree used in carpentry and civil construction, is currently endangered due to logging and forest fragmentation. Information on the genetic diversity and structure of existing populations is necessary to support its conservation and sustainable management. Microsatellite markers are an effective tool for understanding and quantifying the effects of fragmentation on genetic diversity. Seven microsatellite markers were developed and validated using a sample of 98 individuals of the species. The number of alleles per locus ( ) ranged from 3 to 25, the observed and expected heterozygosities from 0.051 to 0.909 and 0.050 to 0.93 respectively, the fixation index corrected for null alleles from 0.036 to 1.0 and all markers were found in linkage equilibrium. This microsatellite marker set is suitable to estimate population genetic parameters in support of sustainable management and conservation, and to assess relatedness and parentage in breeding populations.
Volker Haag
added a research item
For millions of people in Europe, barbecuing during the summer months is a popular and frequent pastime, often with traditional charcoal. But few barbe- cue enthusiasts realise that the charcoal they use comes mostly from dubious sources in Eastern Europe or tropical regions. In these countries, charcoal production drives deforestation, threatens animal and plant species and fuels global warming. The 2020 Analysis of the EU Charcoal Market is a joint project between WWF and the Thünen Institute for Wood Research in Hamburg. At the Thünen Insti- tute, the wood species used in charcoal can be detected using 3D-reflected light microscopy and in some cases, it can also provide information about the origin of the charcoal. For anyone interested in the science behind the testing, please refer to the publications of the Thünen Institute (Haag et al1 and Zemke et al2). For the market analysis, a sample of 150 bags of charcoal and charcoal bri- quettes was tested. They were purchased between October 2019 and April 2020 in eleven European countries (Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Ukraine, Czech Republic and Belgium) in retail stores, DIY stores, petrol stations or other typical places where char- coal is sold. At least 30 wood fragments from each package were analysed to determine the composition of the wood species they contained. This means that a total of over 4,500 charcoal fragments were microscopically analysed.
Alan Crivellaro
added 2 research items
This atlas presents macroscopic descriptions, macro cross section pictures, general characteristics and identification keys of 335 wood species currently introduced in the European timber market from all over the world. Overall 292 different genera are represented and CITES-listed timbers are also included. Macroscopic descriptions are based on a recently proposed list of macroscopic features for wood identification. Macroscopic features and their codes are defined and illustrated in the atlas. Wood descriptions also include information about natural durability, physical and mechanical properties, end uses, environmental sustainability and possible related misleading commercial names. Furthermore, each genus is described in terms of number of species, geographical distribution and main commercial timbers, and details are given about to what extent timbers within the genus can be typically identified through macroscopic and microscopic analysis, if any. The atlas will be a valuable guide for all agents in charge for timber verification, those involved in the European Timber Regulation enforcement and CITES inspections, as well as wood scientists, foresters, wood sellers, wood restorers, and any wood worker and wood passionate interested in a fast and reliable tool for wood identification.
Both macroscopic and microscopic wood identification rely on the ability to identify diagnostic traits and on the availability of reference material. A well-supplied and reliable wood collection is pivotal to compare the unknown wood with similar-looking species. Unfortunately, most people involved in wood identification do not have access to institutional wood collections, nor to the wood sample sources or space to own their personal xilarium. Showing the endgrain view of the most commonly traded hardwood timbers, this book illustrates and allows us to compare 404 timber species by showing 1212 colour images of their fine-sanded cross-sections. Each image represents a 6.35 x 6.35 mm cross-sectional area and approximately resembles the view of a wood cross-section as seen through a 10x hand lens. Alone or in combination with macroscopic identification keys and atlases, this book is a useful aid for students of wood anatomy, wood scientists, timber traders, museum curators, restorers, archaeologists, and professional and amateur wood collectors interested in identifying hardwood samples.
Volker Haag
added a research item
Aproximadamente la mitad de la madera extraída a nivel mundial se utiliza para producir energía y alrededor del 17 % se convierte en carbón vegetal. A menudo se origina en países que se lidian con la tala ilegal, la destrucción de bosques y la corrupción. El sector del carbón vegetal que se encuentra en continuo crecimiento genera ingresos para más de 40 millones de personas. Es en gran parte informal y, por tanto, ineficaz. Por lo tanto, los gobiernos renuncian a miles de millones de dólares en ingresos. Con una cantidad de aprox. 30 %, el comercio ilegal de madera también contribuye de manera significativa a la deforestación y, por lo tanto, al cambio climático acelerado y la pérdida de especies. Hasta ahora, existen muy pocas nomas legislativas para el comercio internacional de carbón vegetal. Uno de los principales problemas es la identificación comprensible de las especies maderables procesadas y el origen del carbón vegetal. El Instituto Thuenen para la Investigación de Madera de Hamburgo es uno de los institutos líderes en el campo de la identificación de la madera basada en características estructurales anatómicas, la “anatomía de la madera”. Todos los días llegan varios envíos al Centro Thuenen de Competencia sobre el origen de la madera para la identificación de las maderas procesadas. Estos incluyen madera maciza y materiales a base de madera, así como productos de pulpa y papel. Los controles del contenido de la madera procesada sirven para la implementación del EUTR, pero también incluyen autocontroles voluntarios por parte de los participantes del mercado. Un campo muy especial de identificación de especies de madera es la identificación de carbón vegetal y briquetas. A diferencia de la determinación microscópica de maderas sólidas, el carbón vegetal no puede prepararse como muestras de corte plano ya que el tejido leñoso está fuertemente descompuesto por el proceso de carbonización y se ha vuelto muy quebradizo. Con una lupa, se puede realizar una diferenciación aproximada. Luego, las muestras se clasifican previamente en un tablero. Estas se alinean para microscopía 3D teniendo en cuenta las tres direcciones anatómicas principales de la madera: radial, tangencial y transversal. Luego, la muestra de carbón se fija en un plato de vidrio con plastilina. Con las briquetas, los fragmentos a examinar son significativamente más pequeños que con el carbón. Posteriormente, los fragmentos aislados deben alinearse y fijarse al igual que las muestras de carbón más grandes. El Instituto Thuenen utiliza una moderna tecnología 3D en la que los escaneos tridimensionales se convierten en imágenes bidimensionales. Mediante el uso de un microscopio óptico en 3D, se escanean digitalmente las superficies irregulares y, como primer paso, se crean representaciones tridimensionales que se convierten en imágenes bidimensionales en un segundo paso. Con base en la investigación en 3D, las muestras de carbón generalmente se pueden asignar a nivel de género o familia y, en este contexto, también brindan información limitada sobre el origen. Como conclusión, este método puede servir como base para la implementación de directrices para el comercio internacional de carbón vegetal. Si tiene alguna pregunta, contáctese con con el Dr. Volker Haag.
Volker Haag
added a research item
CHARCOAL MOVIE --- About half the wood extracted worldwide is used to produce energy and about 17 percent of it is converted to charcoal. Often it originates from countries dealing with illegal logging, forest destruction, and corruption. The continuously growing global charcoal sector generates income for more than 40 million people. It is largely informal and therefore inefficient. Hence governments forgo billions of dollars in revenue. With an amount of approx. 30%, the illegal timber trade also contributes significantly to deforestation and thus to accelerated climate change and species loss. Up to now, there are very few legislative regulations for the international charcoal trade. One of the main problems is the comprehensible identification of the processed timber species and the origin of the charcoal. The Thünen Institute of Wood Research in Hamburg is one of the leading Institutes in the field of wood identification based on anatomical structural features, the “wood anatomy”. Every day several sendings arrive at the Thünen Centre of Competence on the Origin of Timber for the identification of the processed woods. These include solid wood and wood-based materials as well as pulp and paper products. The controls of the content of the processed wood serve the implementation of the EUTR, but also include voluntary self-checks by market participants. A very special field of wood species identification is the identification of charcoal and briquettes. Charcoal cannot be processed like normal wood because it is not possible to produce microscopic slides as used for classical microscopic investigations of wood. With a magnifying glass a rough differentiation can be carried out. The samples are then pre-sorted on a board. The samples are aligned for 3D microscopy in the three main anatomical directions of the wood: radial, tangential, and transverse. Then the charcoal sample is fixed on a glass dish using modelling clay. With briquettes, the fragments to be examined are significantly smaller than with charcoal. Subsequently, the isolated fragments need to be aligned and fixed just like the larger charcoal samples. The Thünen Institute uses a modern 3D-technology in which 3-dimensional scans are converted into 2-dimensional images. By using 3D-reflected light microscopy, the uneven surfaces are digitally scanned and, as a first step, three-dimensional representations are created that are converted into two-dimensional images in a second step Based on the 3D investigation, the charcoal samples can usually be assigned to genus or family level and in this context also provide limited information about the origin. As a conclusion, this method can serve as a basis for the implementation of guidelines for the international charcoal trade. For further questions you are welcome to contact Dr. Volker Haag
Volker Haag
added a research item
Für Millionen Menschen in Europa ist Grillen während der warmen Jahreszeit ein beliebtes und regelmäßiges Freizeitritual, oft mit dem klassischen Kohle- grill. Doch kaum ein Grillfan ahnt, dass die Holzkohle, die er verwendet, zumeist aus zweifelhaften Quellen in Osteuropa oder aus tropischen Gebieten stammt. Dort treibt ihre Herstellung die Entwaldung voran, bedroht die Tier- und Pflanzenarten und heizt die Klimaerwärmung an. Die Grillkohle-Marktanalyse 2020 ist ein gemeinsames Projekt des WWF mit dem Thünen-Institut für Holzforschung in Hamburg. Am Thünen-Institut können unter Anwendung von 3D-Auflichtmikroskopie die in Holzkohle ver- wendeten Holzarten nachgewiesen werden und damit zum Teil auch Hinweise für die Herkunft der Holzkohle erbracht werden. Für wissenschaftlich Inter- essierte wird hier auf die Publikationen des Thünen-Instituts (Haag et al.1 und Zemke et al.2) verwiesen. Für die Marktanalyse wurde eine Stichprobe von 150 Säcken mit Holzkohle und Holzkohlebriketts untersucht. Diese wurde zwischen Oktober 2019 und April 2020 in elf europäischen Ländern (Deutschland, Polen, Schweiz, Spanien, Italien, Norwegen, Dänemark, Niederlande, Ukraine, Tschechische Republik und Belgien) im Einzelhandel, in Baumärkten, an Tankstellen oder anderen typischen Orten, an denen Grillkohle angeboten wird, eingekauft. Aus jeder Packung wurden mindestens 30 Holzfragmente untersucht, um die Zusam- mensetzung der darin enthaltenen Holzarten zu bestimmen. Insgesamt wurden somit über 4.500 Kohlefragmente mikroskopisch analysiert.
Volker Haag
added a research item
As a consequence of globalized timber markets, overexploitation of primarily tropical tree species and relocation of industrial production facilities, new or unknown wood species, so-called "lesser known species", have been increasingly imported into the European market. Regular evaluations at the Thünen Institute of Wood Research reveal that 20 to 30 "new" timbers (mainly tropical species) are added every year, whereas in many cases their wood and utility properties are largely unknown. As these timbers are often recommended for outdoor use, the determination of the natural durability is of great importance. In this thesis, basic wood anatomical and topochemical analyses (cellular UV-spectroscopy) of lesser known species from Central and South America with special focus on timbers from Mexico and Peru were carried out to study their properties. Natural durability with a quantitative assessment was determined according to the European standard (EN 350-2016); traces of fungal decay were also examined by light and electron microscopy. The anatomical and subcellular characteristics, including a histometric evaluation, of juvenile and adult wood of seven lesser known species (Manilkara zapota, Platymiscium yucatanum, Lonchocarpus castilloi, Roseodendron donnell-smithii, Terminalia buceras, Tabebuia rosea, Lysiloma latisiliquum) from Mexico were studied by light microscopy and X-ray diffraction using the SilviScan®-technique. The purpose was to provide basic data for a detailed differentiation between these two wood tissues. In conclusion, the anatomical examinations allow a clear identification of these timbers to fulfill the due diligence requirements of the European Timber Trade Regulation (EUTR) and are a useful contribution to the assessment of the wood properties of these lesser known species. Content: Publications I. Wood anatomical and topochemical analyses to characterize juvenile and adult wood of lesser-known species from Central America (Mexico) II. Cedrelinga cateniformis (Tornillo, Cedrorana) as substitute for relevant timbers used for window manufacturing and outdoor application. III. Die Europäische Holzhandelsverordnung (EUTR) - Anforderungen an die Holzartenbestimmung in der Praxis. IV. Fasern im Fokus: Holzartenbestimmung von Faserplatten - Erfahrungen aus den Prüfungen im Kontext der EUTR. V. Womit grillen wir da eigentlich? Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zeigen, dass viele Chargen zumindest fehlerhaft deklariert sind. VI. Viele Anfragen zu Bubinga und Palisander: Auswirkungen der neuenCITES-Listungen wichtiger Wirtschaftsbaumarten für die Holzverwendung und den Holzhandel.
Volker Haag
added a research item
About half the wood extracted worldwide from forests is used as fuelwood to produce energy, about 17 percent is converted to charcoal (FAO 2017) which represents one of the least controlled/monitored segments of the European timber market. Although charcoal has a significant share on the European market of wood-based products it is not yet covered by the European Timber Regulations (EUTR), (EU) No 995/2010. For this project, a total of 150 charcoal consignments from eleven countries (Ukraine, Czech Republic, and Belgium) were examined and evaluated based on the 3D-reflected light microscopy technique. The high-resolution study indicates the proportion of different European timbers compared with that of timbers from subtropical and tropical regions. The share of subtropical and tropical species is surprisingly high with approximately 46% for material received from all countries studied, but far over 60% for Spain, Italy, Poland, and Belgium. The study shows that comparing the results for charcoal received from these countries there is an inversely proportional relation of certified products (FSC and PEFC) and products with timbers from subtropical or tropical origins. In the charcoal consignments from Switzerland, the share of timbers from subtropical or tropical origin is only 13.5%, whereas that of certified products is 60%. In material received from Spain, the proportion of timbers from subtropical or tropical regions is 67%, whereas that of certified products only 8%. A careful check of the declaration on the packaging, of the accompanying certificates, and the information on origin revealed alarming evidence: only 25% of the consignments examined provide information on the bags, e.g., with regard to the processed wood species; and well over half of such declarations were incorrect and/or incomplete. A trade flow analysis of EU member states was carried out to contribute to a better understanding of the relationships between international charcoal trade flows and the end products in European countries. This approach contributes to an essential understanding of charcoal transit in Europe and the results constitute a strong motive for the inclusion of charcoal in the respective annex to the EUTR.
Valentina Theresia Zemke
added a research item
The present study focusses on the application of 3D-reflected light microscopy (3D-RLM) for the wood anatomical identification of charcoal specimens produced from domestic and tropical timbers. This special microscopic technique offers a detailed investigation of anatomical features in charcoal directly compared with the quality of field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM). The advantages of using the 3D-RLM technology are that fresh fracture planes of charcoal can be directly observed under the microscope without further preparation or surface treatment. Furthermore, the 3D-technique with integrated polarized light illumination creates high-contrast images of uneven and black charcoal surfaces. Important diagnostic structural features such as septate fibres and intercellular canals can be clearly detected and intervessel pits are directly measured. The comparison of the microscopic analyses reveals that 3D-reflected light microscopy (3D-RLM) provides an effective alternative technique to conventional field emission scanning electron microscopy for the identification of carbonized wood.
Alexandre Magno Sebbenn
added 2 research items
Low coverage MiSeq genome sequencing and restriction associated DNA sequencing (RADseq) were used to identify nuclear and plastid SNP and INDEL genetic markers in Carapa guianensis. 261 genetic markers including 237 nuclear SNPs, 22 plastid SNPs, and 2 plastid INDELs are described based on 96 genotyped individuals from French Guiana, Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia. The best 117 SNPs for identifying population structure and performing individual assignment are assembled into four multiplexes for MassARRAY genotyping.
Illegal logging and trade of timber are major worldwide concerns, resulting in biodiversity and economic losses. Tropical tree species in the genus Cedrela, which have historically been heavily exploited, are still often illegally traded and there is an urgent need to develop tools to verify the origin of Cedrela products. A set of 351 SNP loci for Cedrela species from Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, French Guiana, Mexico, and Peru was developed using restriction associated DNA sequencing (RADSeq) and low coverage MiSeq genome sequencing, and adapted for MassARRAY genotyping. After screening of 94 individuals covering most of the distribution of Cedrela, a final set of 136 SNP loci which included 92 nuclear SNPs, 22 chloroplast markers (20 SNPs and 2 INDELs), and 22 mitochondrial markers (19 SNPs and 3 INDELs) was selected and tested for potential to verify Cedrela timber origin.
Alexandre Magno Sebbenn
added a research item
Swietenia species are the most valuable American tropical timbers and have been heavily overexploited for decades. The three species are listed as either vulnerable or endangered by IUCN and are included on Appendix II of CITES, yet illegal exploitation continues. Here, we used restriction associated DNA sequencing to develop a new set of 120 SNP markers for Swietenia sp., suitable for MassARRAY®iPLEX™ genotyping. These markers can be used for population genetic studies and timber tracking purposes.
Nele Schmitz
added a research item
This presentation gives in short answers to the following questions: What is a vessel element atlas? How to identify wood in paper and fibreboards? What is the importance of a vessel element atlas in the frame of illegal logging and trade? How to develop a vessel element atlas?
Nele Schmitz
added a research item
Today we have five types of timber tracking tools available. Each has its own strengths and limitations (see the Timber Tracking Tool Infogram), but together they offer a broad range of methods that can assist us in identifying the botanical as well as the geographic origin (provenance) of most kinds of timber samples, even those smaller than 1 cm³. With this guide we want to provide an overview of the current best-practice methods used to analyse data derived from different wood identification methods, while presenting their respective strengths and limitations. We give advice on data analysis, from the development of reference data, through to the verification of identity and provenance of unknown samples against the reference database. We end with an expert view on combining methods for wood identification and discuss how timber identification possibilities could expand in the future.
Kristen N. Finch
added 2 research items
The legality of wood products often depends on their origin, creating a need for forensic tools that verify claims of provenance for wood products. The neotropical tree species Cedrela odorata (Spanish cedar) is economically valuable for its wood and faces threats of overexploitation. We developed a 140 SNP assay for geographic localization of C. odorata specimens. Target capture and short-read sequencing of 46 C. odorata specimens allowed us to identify 140 spatially informative SNPs that differentiate C. odorata specimens by latitude, temperature, and precipitation. We assessed the broad applicability of these SNPs on 356 specimens from eight Cedrela species, three tissue types, and a range of DNA mass inputs. Origin prediction error was evaluated with discrete and continuous spatial assignment methods focusing on C. odorata specimens. Discrete classification with random forests readily differentiated specimens originating in Central America versus South America (5.8% error), while uncertainty increased as specimens were divided into smaller regions. Continuous spatial prediction with SPASIBA showed a median prediction error of 188.7 km. Our results demonstrate that array SNPs and resulting genotypes accurately validate C. odorata geographic origin at the continental scale and show promise for country-level verification, but that finer-scale assignment likely requires denser spatial sampling. Our study underscores the important role of herbaria for developing genomic resources, and joins a growing list of studies that highlight the role of genomic tools for conservation of threatened species.
Background Tree species in the genus Cedrela P. Browne are threatened by timber overexploitation across the Neotropics. Genetic identification of processed timber can be used to supplement wood anatomy to assist in the taxonomic and source validation of protected species and populations of Cedrela. However, few genetic resources exist that enable both species and source identification of Cedrela timber products. We developed several ‘omic resources including a leaf transcriptome, organelle genome (cpDNA), and diagnostic single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that may assist the classification of Cedrela specimens to species and geographic origin and enable future research on this widespread Neotropical tree genus. Results We designed hybridization capture probes to enrich for thousands of genes from both freshly preserved leaf tissue and from herbarium specimens across eight Meliaceae species. We first assembled a draft de novo transcriptome for C. odorata, and then identified putatively low-copy genes. Hybridization probes for 10,001 transcript models successfully enriched 9795 (98%) of these targets, and analysis of target capture efficiency showed that probes worked effectively for five Cedrela species, with each species showing similar mean on-target sequence yield and depth. The probes showed greater enrichment efficiency for Cedrela species relative to the other three distantly related Meliaceae species. We provide a set of candidate SNPs for species identification of four of the Cedrela species included in this analysis, and present draft chloroplast genomes for multiple individuals of eight species from four genera in the Meliaceae. Conclusions Deforestation and illegal logging threaten forest biodiversity globally, and wood screening tools offer enforcement agencies new approaches to identify illegally harvested timber. The genomic resources described here provide the foundation required to develop genetic screening methods for Cedrela species identification and source validation. Due to their transferability across the genus and family as well as demonstrated applicability for both fresh leaves and herbarium specimens, the genomic resources described here provide additional tools for studies examining the ecology and evolutionary history of Cedrela and related species in the Meliaceae. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1186/s12864-018-5382-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Nele Schmitz
added 3 research items
AUDIENCE: researchers, company representatives, foresters, civil society activists, presidents from trade federations, political actors AIM: offer guidance for initiatives that require collective action, implementing solutions jointly beyond sectors, institutions, nations and cultures FOR MORE INFORMATION; SEE: Successful global partnerships. A guide focused on timber tracking research. Global Timber Tracking Network, GTTN secretariat, European Forest Institute and Thünen Institute. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.33528.26881
To fight illegal logging and the related trade we will need all researchers to combine expertise and exchange experiences on all levels from field work, over lab work to data analysis and interpretation. The aim of this guide is to inform on what expertise is available where and to advise on how to run successful global partnerships, where the material or knowledge transfer proves worthwhile for both sides. This guide thus aims to facilitate transfer of knowledge, equipment, as well as wood and other reference samples to benefit the operationalisation of timber tracking technologies. In many cases, this involves collaborations between research laboratories (with input from other stakeholders) in different countries and creating an open and honest work environment with partners of varied expertise, facilities and financial capacities.
USERS OF THIS GUIDE: Authorities, traders, importers and all others interested in the current capacity of timber tracking methods for the taxonomy and geographical origin of timber (products). AIM OF THIS GUIDE: Inform about the scientific methods available for timber tracking (taxonomy and origin) and on the laboratories offering these identification services. This guide is a concise version of the scientifically more detailed Timber Tracking Tool Infogram.
Nele Schmitz
added an update
The IAWA will take over the further updating of the Index Xylariorum:
Therefore, they invite you to participate in the Global Xylaria Survey, which is available here:
[if the link doesn't work, go to www.iawa-website.org and there under “wood collections” you will find the Global Xylaria Survey].
All information will be used for research purposes and shared with all xylaria/IAWA members for better communication within the wood anatomy research community. In future, the website will be updated so that every curator can update the information for his/her xylarium at any time.
Deadline of this survey: 31 July
Please contact Dr. HE Tuo (tuohe@caf.ac.cn) if you have any questions.
 
Jose Bolanos
added a research item
Report of the virtual event was organised to introduce the Service Provider Directory and the Reference Database, discuss its features and provide training for uploading data on samples and reference data. Participants tested the information system and assessed some questions on layout, user friendliness, and functionality. Participants also presented their experiences and discussed next steps in the SPD and reference database development and operational use.
Alexandre Magno Sebbenn
added a research item
Dipteryx timber has been heavily exploited in South America since 2000's due to the increasing international demand for hardwood. Developing tools for the genetic identification of Dipteryx species and their geographical origin can help to promote legal trading of timber. A collection of 800 individual trees, belonging to six different Dipteryx species, was genotyped based on 171 molecular markers. After the exclusion of markers out of Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium or with no polymorphism or low amplification, 83 nuclear, 29 chloroplast, 13 mitochondrial SNPs, and two chloroplast and five mitochondrial INDELS remained. Six genetic groups were identified using Bayesian Structure analyses of the nuclear SNPs, which corresponded to the different Dipteryx species collected in the field. Seventeen highly informative markers were identified as suitable for species identification and obtained self-assignment success rates to species level of 78-96%. An additional set of 15 molecular markers was selected to determine the different genetic clusters found in D. odorata and D. ferrea, obtaining self-assignment success rates of 91-100%. The success to assign samples to the correct country of origin using all or only the informative markers improved when using the nearest neighbour approach (69-92%) compared to the Bayesian approach (33-80%). While nuclear and chloroplast SNPs were more suitable for differentiating the different Dipteryx species, mitochondrial SNPs were ideal for determining the genetic clusters of D. odorata and D. ferrea. These 32 selected SNPs will be invaluable genetic tools for the accurate identification of species and country of origin of Dipteryx timber.
Nele Schmitz
added an update
Job Summary
Reporting to the WRI Africa Director, you will be responsible for overseeing our activities in Democratic Republic of Congo in relation to forest monitoring, forest management and legality, restoration, and land use planning. You will drive programmatic strategy in country, working closely with the Global Forest Director and the Director of the WRI Africa Regional Office. Major responsibilities will include oversight of program implementation, project management, staff management, fundraising, and thought leadership. 
 
Nele Schmitz
added an update
New article from one of our members!
Endangered species account for 10% of Brazil’s documented timber trade.
 
Nele Schmitz
added an update
With many of us closed up indoors due to Corona precautionary measures, and others working hard in the lab or office, I guess we can all use a bit of music. So why not do a fun experiment and see if we can get a world music compilation together with songs being related in one way or another to the GTTN.
Here is what we got so far in the Global Timber Tracks playlist:
Now it's your turn to add your favorite, GTTN related songs. No restrictions on language or genre. Just search your song on YouTube and save it in the Global Timber Tracks playlist.
Stay safe and enjoy!
 
Volker Haag
added a research item
Cedrelinga cateniformis (tornillo) is a timber species of the South American Amazon Basin. In its natural distribution area, the wood has various local uses, such as furniture, art work, door and window frames, and light construction. In order to promote this lesser known species for high valued applications on the international market, wood anatomical, topochemical and physical/mechanical studies were carried out to characterize the wood properties. The topochemical distribution of the lignin and phenolic extractives in the tissue were studied by means of cellular UV microspectrophotometry (UMSP). The results of the structural and topochemical analyses were compared with the interrelation of certain anatomical and subcellular structures as well as the chemical composition with regard to the physical and mechanical properties. The natural durability of the mature heartwood was analyzed according to the European Standards and is resulting in a durability class 1 against basidiomycetes. Based on the findings of the comprehensive investigations concerning physical and biological features, e.g. the dimensional stability and durability, Cedrelinga cateniformis is ideally suited as a substitute for overexploited tropical woods currently used in Europe for wooden window frames and other above ground outdoor applications and thus can contribute to increase the value-added production in Peruvian forests.
Jutta Buschbom
added 2 research items
... The question arises, if we actually have the analytical methods to evaluate the current status and temporal trends of biodiversity in taxonomic groups with high-quality, though information-scarce and patchy data. ... It seems worthwhile to explore statistical frameworks from different fields to improve our ability to quantify biodiversity in taxonomic groups with incomplete data.
Safeguarding biological diversity from evolutionary lineages to ecosystems is a major undertaking for humanity. Forensic conservation genetics for the protection of wild flora and fauna aims to provide statistical inference tools and services for the enforcement of local to global conservation and management strategies. This paper reviews statistical criteria that provide insight into and assess the reliability of conclusions drawn from statistical inference. The translation of these fundamental criteria into practice is illustrated with applications from evolutionary and forensic genetics, specifically focusing on the inference of geographic origin using population assignment approaches.
Nele Schmitz
added an update
The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (idfa.nl) has many documentaries online that can be watched for free (not all but still many).
The statement of the IDFA on the COVID-19 pandemic suits the GTTN:
We want to live in a world where we do not shut ourselves off from others, in a world where national borders are open, and where not every other person is a danger. In a tolerant world where there is a strong bond of fate, and interaction with others is indispensable. And we want to live in a world where art is a raft of hope, perception, inspiration, and entertainment that we can enjoy together.
Scientific research has at least an arty aspect. Without creativity, most research would not come to a good end and for sure some things you get to see under a microscope are grand pieces of art, and besides that collaborating is an art in itself :),
Enjoy watching. Here for example what they have in their database on timber:
 
Volker Haag
added a research item
Anatomical and subcellular characteristics of juvenile and adult wood of seven species ( Manilkara zapota (L.) P. Royen, Platymiscium yucatanum Standl., Lonchocarpus castilloi Standl., Roseodendron donnell-smithii (Rose) Miranda, Terminalia buceras (L.) Wright, Tabebuia rosea (Bertol.) DC., Lysiloma latisiliquum (L.) Benth. from Mexico, including a histometric evaluation, were investigated by light microscopy with a digitized image analysis system and by X-ray diffractometry using the SilviScan® system. The topochemical distribution of lignin and phenolic deposits in the tissue was studied by means of cellular UV-microspectrophotometry (UMSP). Extractive contents (acetone/water and water) were determined gravimetrically. The results of the structural and topochemical analyses were compared with the interrelations of certain anatomical and subcellular structures as well as the topochemical composition with regard to the physical and mechanical properties of the timbers investigated. The objective was to provide a detailed cellular and subcellular description of the heartwood of seven lesser-known timbers from Central America. All examined tree species show significant differences between juvenile and adult heartwood. For individual species, however, the differences vary greatly and have to be individually assessed in addition to general trends observed for all studied species. It has been shown that vessel size, fibre length, size of fibre lumina, and height and width of rays, as well as the content of extractives and topochemical composition of the cell walls, are suitable indicators for the differentiation of the two heartwood types. The results also contribute to a better understanding of the wood properties of the investigated timbers in relation to their utilization and added value increase.
Rudolf Schraml
added an update
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 September 2020.
Special Issue Information
Dear Colleagues,
Customers are becoming increasingly interested in the origin of their wood products. In particular, with respect to the discussion of sustainability and climate change, issues such as illegal cutting and fake certificates damage the positive image of wood as a sustainable and renewable resource. For this reason, methods for wood tracking from the forest to the final consumer are attracting increasing interest. This Special Issue aims to gather state-of-the-art methods for wood tracking and origin identification.
In particular, contributions covering the following subtopics are welcome:
Wood tracking methods in the forest;
Noninvasive and nondestructive methods for wood identification;
Wood quality prediction based on origin information;
Industrial tools for wood tracking.
Prof. Alexander Petutschnigg Guest Editor
 
Gerald Koch
added a research item
In die EU eingeführte Hölzer und Holzprodukte (Spanplatten eingeschlossen) unterliegen seit 2013 der Holzhandelsverordnung (EUTR, 2010). Im Hinblick auf die korrekte und vollständige Deklaration werden am Thünen-Kompetenzzentrum Holzherkünfte erstmalig die Holzartenzusammensetzungen in Spanplatten grundlegend untersucht. Die anatomische Bestimmung der Späne in den Deck- und Mittelschichten ist aufgrund der unterschiedlichen Spangrößen und-geometrie deutlich schwieriger im Vergleich zur Bestimmung von Massivholzproben und erfordert einen hohen präparativen Aufwand. Die bisherigen Ergebnisse der mikroskopischen Untersuchungen zeigen, dass die Holzartenzusammensetzungen zumeist den regionalen Herkünften der Hölzer bzw. Produktionsstätten entsprechen. Die identifizierten Hölzer können in fünf Gruppen – Nadelhölzer, Laubhölzer (temperiert), Laubhölzer (asiatisch), Plantagenhölzer und Recyclinghölzer – unterteilt werden. Auf der Grundlage dieser Ergebnisse werden die Referenzen für die Bestimmung der Hölzer in Spanplatten, gemäß den Anforderungen der EUTR (2010), maßgeblich erweitert.
Nele Schmitz
added an update
Where: Serpentine Galleries, London, UK
When: 4th March - 17th May
What:
Formafantasma's [www.formafantasma.com] project for the Serpentine 'Cambio' [https://www.serpentinegalleries.org/exhibitions-events/formafantasma-cambio] puts into question the role that design can play in translating emerging environmental awareness into informed, collaborative responses. Forestry techniques and timber legislation then become tools for designing a better future for our forests; scientific knowledge goes hand-in-hand with environmental activism in fighting illegal logging, and the equilibrium of trans-national geopolitics is redefined in the struggle between conservation and consumption.
 
Victor Deklerck
added a research item
Background and Objectives: The origin of traded timber is one of the main questions in the enforcement of regulations to combat the illegal timber trade. Substantial efforts are still needed to develop techniques that can determine the exact geographical provenance of timber and this is vital to counteract the destructive effects of illegal logging, ranging from economical loss to habitat destruction. The potential of chemical fingerprints from pith-to-bark growth rings for individual comparison and geographical provenance determination is explored. Materials and Methods: A wood sliver was sampled per growth ring from four stem disks from four individuals of Pericopsis elata (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and from 14 stem disks from 14 individuals of Terminalia superba (Côte d'Ivoire and Democratic Republic of the Congo). Chemical fingerprints were obtained by analyzing these wood slivers with Direct Analysis in Real Time Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (DART TOFMS). Results: Individual distinction for both species was achieved but the accuracy was dependent on the dataset size and number of individuals included. As this is still experimental, we can only speak of individual comparison and not individual distinction at this point. The prediction accuracy for the country of origin increases with increasing sample number and a random sample can be placed in the correct country. When a complete disk is removed from the training dataset, its rings (samples) are correctly attributed to the country with an accuracy ranging from 43% to 100%. Relative abundances of ions appear to contribute more to differentiation compared to frequency differences. Conclusions: DART TOFMS shows potential for geographical provenancing but is still experimental for individual distinction; more research is needed to make this an established method. Sampling campaigns should focus on sampling tree cores from pith-to-bark, paving the way towards a chemical fingerprint database for species provenance.
Nele Schmitz
added an update
For more details about the new Atlas of Macroscopic Wood Identification: https://www.springer.com/it/book/9783030235659
The atlas also comes with a freely downloadable identification key, that is already available to download here: http://tiny.cc/idkey
 
Nele Schmitz
added an update
I just discovered this report of the Institute for food science & technology, which can be helpful when thinking about strategies on how to get timber tracking tools regularly applied. What can we learn from the food industry?
The article is about the role of analytical testing within the context of an overall supply chain assurance strategy. It describes where testing can and cannot be used, and highlights generic issues relating to interpreting food authenticity testing results.
 
Iskandar Z Siregar
added 2 research items
Sengon or Falcataria moluccana (Miq.) Barneby & J.W.Grimes is the main crop in community tree plantations in Java, Indonesia, favored because of its fast-growing property and the promising economic return. The wood itself is mostly used for light construction, furniture, plywood, packing materials, and recently as feedstock for bioenergy. Sometimes the wood is used as DNA source for example in the wood identification analysis. However, extracting DNA from woods is considered difficult due particularly to very small quantities of DNA. The objective of this research was to optimize and modify the common CTAB protocols to extract DNA from Sengon wood without liquid nitrogen which sometimes unavailable in some laboratories. The extracted DNA was quantified with nanophotometer and gel visualization and amplified with primer coding psbA-trnH intergenic spacer for testing. The highest concentration of DNA extracted was from 100 mg of wood stored for 24 hours in -30 °C (257.80 ng/μL or 14.18 μg in total) and even the lowest concentration produced by this method able to produce sufficient amount of PCR product for sequencing. Compared with results from 200 mg samples and longer freezing time (72 hours) and extraction using liquid nitrogen, this method considered gave the best results.
DNA barcoding has been used as a universal tool for phylogenetic inferences and diversity assessments, especially in poorly studied species and regions. The aim of this study was to contrast morphological taxonomy and DNA barcoding, using the three frequently used markers matK, rbcL, and trnL-F, to assess the efficiency of DNA barcoding in the identification of dipterocarps in Sumatra, Indonesia. The chloroplast gene matK was the most polymorphic among these three markers with an average interspecific genetic distance of 0.020. The results of the molecular data were mostly in agreement with the morphological identification for the clades of Anthoshorea, Hopea, Richetia, Parashorea, and Anisoptera, nonetheless these markers were inefficient to resolve the relationships within the Rubroshorea group. The maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference phylogenies identified Shorea as a paraphyletic genus, Anthoshorea appeared as sister to Hopea, and Richetia was sister to Parashorea. A better discriminatory power among dipterocarp species provided by matK and observed in our study suggests that this marker has a higher evolutionary rate than the other two markers tested. However, a combination of several different barcoding markers is essential for reliable identification of the species at a lower taxonomic level.
Nele Schmitz
added an update
EU28 (plus Norway and Switzerland) imports of EUTR-regulated forest products from Myanmar increased by 50% between 2017 and 2018. In 2017, an EC Expert Group concluded that “none of the assurances that the Member State EUTR competent authorities have received can be relied upon as sufficient for demonstration of compliance with the EUTR” with regard to teak from Myanmar.
Authentication of species and origin is increasingly mainstream in the enforcement of laws to exclude illegal wood from global trade
>> Conclusion: You are all swamped by wood identification requests?
Funny note (or not):
imports increased over 1000% from Djibouti (because of UK purchasing of cigarette paper products).
Djibouti is like a desert!? It are data for 'forest products'. If they don't include non-wood forest products (which you expect in frame of EUTR) it means cellulose from wood. Do we need to increase our paper checking capacities?
 
Nele Schmitz
added an update
Have a look at this project. GTTN related work would perfectly fit under theme 1 'case studies - profiling the impacts of products in everyday use'. Because that is what happens when we identify wood, we create transparency about the impact of the product. If you don't know the species or the provenance of timber, evaluating environmental (but also social and economic) impact is impossible.
This seminar and related book project aim to explore how we might be able to establish higher standards of transparency and traceability in everyday consumption, and how this might be used to support a transition to more ‘responsible production and consumption’ (UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 12).
Abstracts (up to 200 words) are to be submitted via the website by October 30th.
 
Nele Schmitz
added an update
I just discovered that CDP [https://www.cdp.net/en/info/about-us/what-we-do] has a network of accredited solutions providers. At this moment companies don't need to report on how often they have their timber checked to verify (suspicious) trade documents.
However, this can change. I would say to all current timber tracking providers, just sign up massively and let the world know the possibilities of timber tracking. Timber tracking is just a little piece of the puzzle on the road towards sustainably managed forests, but it does bring more transparency in the supply chains (directly and indirectly by pushing companies to know their suppliers better), which is the fundament for change.
For more info
> about CDP's work on forests see e.g. the report attached
> about how to become a CDP provider:
 
Nele Schmitz
added an update
Survey to assess stakeholders' views on wood identification technologies and their current and potential market demand.
Time needed: max. 15 minutes
Deadline: 30 September
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Sondage afin d'évaluer les points de vue des intervenants sur les technologies d'identification du bois et leurs applications actuelles et potentielles.
Durée: max. 15 minutes
Date limite: 30 septembre
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Evaluar su perspectiva sobre las tecnologías de identificación de la madera, la demanda del mercado actual y la potencial en el futuro.
Duración: max. 15 minutos
Fecha límite: 30 de setiembre
 
Nele Schmitz
added an update
This funding call has the general theme: "BIODIVERSITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE". All timber tracking related research would fit, e.g. under the specific theme of "Synergies and trade-offs between policies on biodiversity, climate and other relevant sectors, and the role of agents of change".
Regulations controlling illegal logging (and their tools for implementation) are agents of change as they impact deforestation that is linked to climate change and loss of precious/highly traded timber species.
Deadline for pre-proposals submission (mandatory): 5 November
All info:
 
Yong Haur Tay
added 2 research items
This presentation introduce the Xylorix wood identification platform. It is a platform that help wood anatomists to develop a practical, rapid, field-deployable, scale-able and cost-effective macroscopic wood identification mobile app on iPhones and Android phones at a rapid pace.
Wood serves as raw material for countless industries due to its unique material characteristics. As such, different types of wood are traded and valued accordingly based on their supply and demand. Hence, the correct identification of wood based on trading name is important in commercial trading. Macroscopic level wood identification that has been practiced by wood anatomists for decades can identify wood up to family level in some cases but mostly up to the genera level. However, the skill on wood identification is hardly transferable due to the complexity and variation of wood structures. In this paper, we proposed a rapid and robust macroscopic wood identification system using machine vision with deep learning method using smartphone and retrofitted macro-lens as effective image acquisition device. With cloud hosting, our system is cost effective, easily accessible, fast and scalable at the same time provides great accuracy on identification. This system is trained to identify 100 commonly trading wood types found in Malaysia with Top-1 accuracy of 77.52% and Top-2 accuracy of 87.29%. A beta version of the application can be downloaded from Apple Appstore.
Nele Schmitz
added an update
This is a great opportunity for everyone under age of 35 with some wild idea that she/he always wanted to investigate but never had the time/money for to do it. The only limit, it should fit under the broad topic of Europe’s Role Tomorrow - Responsibilities in Global Progress. Nationality is unimportant, so all GTTN related work would fit :)
You can apply as an individual or in group, do the research independently or as part of an organisation. Almost no restrictions!
Just shoot!
Deadline: 22 September
 
Alexandre Magno Sebbenn
added a research item
Illegal logging and trade of timber are major worldwide concerns, resulting in biodiversity and economic losses. Tropical tree species in the genus Cedrela, which have historically been heavily exploited, are still often illegally traded and there is an urgent need to develop tools to verify the origin of Cedrela products. A set of 351 SNP loci for Cedrela species from Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, French Guiana, Mexico, and Peru was developed using restriction associated DNA sequencing (RADSeq) and low coverage MiSeq genome sequencing, and adapted for MassARRAY genotyping. After screening of 94 individuals covering most of the distribution of Cedrela, a final set of 136 SNP loci which included 92 nuclear SNPs, 22 chloroplast markers (20 SNPs and 2 INDELs), and 22 mitochondrial markers (19 SNPs and 3 INDELs) was selected and tested for potential to verify Cedrela timber origin.
Nele Schmitz
added an update
Have a look at this website, giving a pile of resources about knowledge translation:
One of our (you, me, we as the GTTN) biggest challenges is getting the already existing timber tracking tools used on the ground. To jump over this gap between research and implementation we can use some extra skills.
 
Nele Schmitz
added a research item
The Global Timber Tracking Network organized an Asia Regional Workshop in Dachang, Peoples Republic of China on 22-23 May 2019 in cooperation with the Chinese Academy of Forestry and the International Association of Wood Anatomists (IAWA). The workshop brought together key scientists, who are developing the wood authentication methods, stakeholders from government and non-governmental institutions, development partners, and the private sector. The GTTN Asia Regional Workshop addressed key issues related to (1) the successful development of timber tracking tools (techniques for wood species and origin identification) and (2) policies to promote their use to reduce illegal logging and associated trade worldwide.
Nele Schmitz
added an update
New paper on Trends in legal and illegal trade of wild birds: a global assessment based on expert knowledge.
Although this paper is about birds, its approach and findings are worth reflecting on also for the timber case:
  • The biggest challenges in wildlife trade are law enforcement and trade monitoring.
  • To identify targets for trade management, identification of the multiple drivers is needed.
  • Consumer motivations to buy certain species can help define interventions and identify species with increased probability of being traded.
  • The media have an effect on the demand (For timber, what will be the effect of the increased attention for plastic pollution?).
  • There is a need for consumer-focused demand reduction actions, coupled with increased offer of sustainable alternatives.
  • In developing countries, local communities sometimes strongly depend on trading native biodiversity as a profitable economic activity.
 
Nele Schmitz
added an update
IAWA Journal is organizing a Special Issue for which all are invited to contribute:
  • reviews
  • original research articles
  • viewpoint papers
relating to wood identification and wood forensics with a special emphasis on recent advances in wood anatomy and multidisciplinary approaches.
First, please contact the editors to indicate your interest!
Deadline to submit manuscripts: February 15, 2020.
All info:
 
Nele Schmitz
added an update
For those who didn't know the lab at INIA in Madrid (Spain) yet, here a nice video informing about their work:
 
Victor Deklerck
added a research item
Using chemical fingerprints for timber species identification is a relatively new, but promising technique. However, little is known about the effect of pre-processing spectral data parameter settings on the timber species classification accuracy. Therefore, this study presents an extensive and automated analysis method using the random forest machine learning algorithm on a set of highly valuable timber species from the Meliaceae family. Metabolome profiles were collected using direct analysis in real-time (DART™) ionisation coupled with time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOFMS) analysis of heartwood specimens for 175 individuals (representing 10 species). In order to analyse variability in classification accuracy, 110 sets of data pre-processing parameter combinations consisting of mass tolerance for binning and relative abundance cut-off thresholds were tested. Furthermore, for each set of parameters (designated “binning/threshold setting”), a random search for one hyperparameter of interest was performed, i.e. the number of variables (in this case ions) drawn randomly for each random forest analysis. The best classification accuracy (82.2%) was achieved with 47 variables and a binning and threshold combination of 40 mDa and 4%, respectively. Entandrophragma angolense is mostly confused with Entandrophragma candollei and Khaya anthotheca, and several Swietenia species are confused with each other due to the high similarity of their chemical fingerprints. Entandrophragma cylindricum, Entandrophragma utile, Khaya ivorensis, Lovoa trichilioides and Swietenia macrophylla are easy to discriminate and show less misclassifications. The choice of parameter settings, whether it is in the data pre-processing (binning and threshold) or classification algorithm (hyperparameters), results in variability in classification accuracy. Therefore, a preliminary parameter screening is proposed before constructing the final model when using the random forest algorithm for classification. Overall, DART-TOFMS in combination with random forest is a powerful tool for species identification.
Nele Schmitz
added an update
I was just told about this mobile genetics lab [https://www.bento.bio/].
Imagine if this really works and the MinION [https://nanoporetech.com/products/minion] too then genetic timber tracking could be done in a field station!
I don't know anybody who tried it out already so let me know if you do and what you think about it.
 
Nele Schmitz
added a research item
To be able to tackle the challenges for updating wood identification, we first need to have an overview of the spectrum of methods currently available and their capacities. Such overview was recently produced by the Global Timber Tracking Network. The infographic of timber tracking tools creates the perfect base to discuss the gaps and opportunities for further developments in the field of wood identification. Some of the limitations are inherent to the methods and can hence not be overcome by further research. Two critical parts of the wood identification process, open for more advancements are the collection of reference samples and the data analysis. With global timber supply chains there is a need for harmonization of procedures to secure the reputation of the different wood identification tools and to facilitate collaborations. Collaborations can take place by exchanging samples (division of tasks to exploit the power of the full spectrum of identification methods) or by exchanging data (combining strengths of the different methods to overcome their weaknesses). Finally, a common language is essential for any collaboration and hence for further innovations. Therefore, it is important to investigate the current barriers of information flow within the wood identification community.
Alexandre Magno Sebbenn
added a research item
Nuclear and plastidial single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and INDEL markers were developed using restriction associated DNA sequencing (RADSeq) and low coverage MiSeq genome sequencing for population genetics and timber tracking purposes in the Neotropical timber species Jacaranda copaia. We used 407 nuclear SNPs, 29 chloroplast, and 31 mitochondrial loci to genotype 92 individuals from Brazil, Bolivia, French Guiana, and Peru. Based on high amplification rates and genetic differentiation among populations, 113 nuclear SNPs, 11 chloroplast, and 4 mitochondrial loci were selected, and their use validated for genetic tracking of timber origin.
Gerald Koch
added 2 research items
Wood identification is of prime importance in enforcing CITES policies regarding protected species. A tool to facilitate wood identification based on macroscopic features, CITESwoodID, is available, developed in the DELTA-INTKEY-System. This database contains descriptions and an interactive identification system for 12 CITES-listed timbers (11 hardwoods, 1 softwood) known for their potential in the manufacture of lumber and downstream processing into products, and 44 trade timbers which can be easily mistaken for CITES-listed timbers due to a similar appearance and/or wood anatomical pattern. The database is primarily designed for institutions and persons involved in regulating import and export of wood and wood products controlled by CITES regulations. It is also used in primary and secondary educational facilities active in teaching wood anatomy and wood identification, and has been the basis of a number of training modules and short courses for government inspectors and students.
Marius R. M. Ekué
added a research item
The genus Khaya includes some of the highest-value timber species in natural forests in Africa, which are under heavy exploitation pressure. Genetic identification of Khaya species is important to confirm the taxonomic classification for biodiversity conservation purposes and as a forensic tool aiding law enforcement in the fight against illegal logging. We collected samples from a total of 2222 trees belonging to five or six (depending on classification) different Khaya species (K. ivorensis, K. anthotheca/K. nyasica, K. grandifoliola, K. senegalensis, K. madagascariensis). Representative sampling was conducted over the natural ranges of all sampled Khaya species, in humid tropical forest and savanna zones. We genotyped individuals based on 101 molecular markers (67 nuclear, 11 chloroplast and 22 mitochondrial SNPs, 1 chloroplast indel). Bayesian clustering produced three main genetic groups assigning all K. ivorensis and all K. senegalensis trees, respectively, in two different clusters and all remaining individuals in a third cluster. Genetic self-assignment tests with all 101 SNPs had success rates of 97–100% for all species except for K. nyasica and K. madagascariensis, which could not be clearly distinguished from each other. A success rate for species identification nearly as high was observed using a subset of 15 highly differentiated SNPs. There was only very little evidence for hybridization among species and the vast majority (> 97%) of individuals were assigned to the same species group as identified based on morphological characters.
Gerald Koch
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Zusammenfassung: Als Beitrag zum globalen Schutz der Wälder wurde im März 2013 die Europäische Holzhandelsverordnung (EUTR) erlassen. Sie verbietet den Import und den Handel mit illegal eingeschlagenem Holz und verpflichtet alle Marktteilnehmer, die innerhalb der EU Holz oder Holzprodukte erstmalig in Verkehr bringen, bestimmte Sorgfaltspflichten einzuhalten. Dazu gehören unter anderem Informationspflichten zur Art und Herkunft des Holzes. Die eindeutige Bestimmung der Holzarten ist auch in Bezug auf die Bewertung der Produkteigenschaften (Verbraucherschutz) von großer Bedeutung, da in zunehmendem Maße minderwertige Austauschhölzer verarbeitet und eingeführt werden. Zeitgleich mit dem Inkrafttreten der EUTR wurde das Thünen-Kompetenzzentrum Holzherkünfte gegründet, das täglich Anfragen auf den Gebieten Holzartenbestimmung und genetischer Art-und Herkunftsnachweis bearbeitet. Im Jahr 2014 wurden insgesamt 470 offizielle Aufträge (ca. 3.500 Prüfmuster/Einzelproben) holzanatomisch untersucht. Die Anfragen kommen im Wesentlichen aus dem Bereich des Holzhandels (ca. 65%) und der EUTR-Kontrollbehörden (24%). Die Auswertungen der untersuchten Produktgruppen zeigen, dass in zunehmendem Maße Sperrhölzer und Faserplatten für die Bestimmung der verwendeten Hölzer an das Kompetenzzentrum geschickt werden. Die Bestimmung der Sperrhölzer und Faserplatten erfordert eine besondere Expertise und die Erstellung von belegten Referenzproben. Im Übersichtartikel werden die Erfahrungen des Thünen-Kompetenzzentrums auf dem Gebiet der anatomischen Holzartenbestimmung seit Einführung der EUTR detailliert beschrieben. Abstract As a contribution to global forest protection the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) came into force on March, 2013. Under the EUTR, placing illegally harvested timber and products derived from such timber on the EU market is prohibited. EU operators-those who place timber products on the EU market for the first time-are required to exercise "due diligence" including the correct declaration of the wood species. The clear identification of the timber is also important for the assessment of product properties "consumer protection" as lower-grade substitute timbers are imported at a distinctly increasing rate. In the context of these new challenges wood anatomy provides the most valuable support for practical wood identification and is routinely applied in the daily control of wood and wood products at the Thünen Centre of Competence on the Origin of Timber. The Centre of Competence is the central contact facility for government agencies, timber trade and consumers to verify the species of wood and/or wood products and its origin. In the year 2014 the Centre has executed more than 470 official requests (involving approximately 3,500 specimens) for microscopic wood identification. The requests come mainly from the timber trade sectors (65%) and increasingly from the German EUTR authorities (24%). The evaluation of the tested product groups shows, that the requests for the identification of plywood and fibreboards are strongly increased. The identification of the individual veneer layers and cell elements requires a special expertise and the preparation of defined references. The present review article provides detail information on the work and experiences of Thünen Centre of Competence since the implementation of the EUTR. Autoren: PD Dr. habil. Gerald Koch (Wissenschaftlicher Direktor): Studium der Holzwirtschaft an der Universität Hamburg. 1998 Promotion Habilitation und Venia legendi für das Fachgebiet Holzbiologie an der Universität Hamburg; seit 2004 wissenschaftliche Leitung der Holzsammlung und des holzanatomischen Labors am Thünen-Institut für Holzforschung und dem in 2013 gegründeten Thünen-Kompetenzzentrum Holzherkünfte; Gutachter für Holzartenbestimmung und das Washingtoner Artenschutzabkommen CITES, Mitglied in Normausschüssen und des Fachgremiums Holzarten für den Fensterbau (VFF).
Nele Schmitz
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Food for thought (also for tree species):
Listing species in Appendix I is intuitively positive for many actors, (...) debate on listing proposals involving charismatic megafauna lasted several days, while decisions on 11 other proposals were made rapidly in 32 minutes toward the end of the final day.
(...) proponents of Appendix I listings must demonstrate only this threat; they do not have to produce an evidence-based assessment of the likely consequences of the listing. (...) adverse impacts exist, such as price hikes leading to increased poaching, while illegal trade may continue, sometimes at high levels, or even increase
(...) CITES listing decisions also fail to adequately consider the role of international trade in the local economies of source countries (...) of the 23 species subject to proposed Appendix I listings, 17 do not have in situ management measures in place.
 
Nele Schmitz
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Closing date - 30th April 2019
Start date - 1st June 2019
 
Volker Haag
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Anticipation on the increasing demand for timber checks and on the need for a reliable expert database: Opportunities and limits of Macroscopic and Microscopic Wood Identification against illegal logging
Nele Schmitz
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The short guide gives an overview of the current capacities of the different timber tracking tools. The only way to be sure that a wood (product) at the end of the supply chain is what the documents say it is, is to check the inherent wood characteristics that can reveal species and geographic identity. There is an increasing interest to bring clarity into complexity of the global timber supply chains. Depending on the question, one method will be more suitable than the other. The infogram wants to guide here and inform on the different possibilities offered for the different identification requests. The guide links to a list of experts in timber tracking, that we currently know of in the world.