The identification of internationally traded timber is of prime importance in enforcing CITES policies regarding protected species, especially with focus on the new Dalbergia (rosewood) listings. The 4th International CITES workshop was organized by the Thünen Institute of Wood Research, Hamburg and the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN, Germany) from June 8–9, 2017, hosted at the premises of the Thünen Institute. In total 55 participants from 26 countries representing environmental and customs authorities as well as wood anatomists were practically trained in the macroscopic identification and recognition of CITES protected timber by using the database CITESwoodID. The database has recently been updated and adapted to the new CITES timber listings, with focus on Dalbergia and Guibourtia species. It contains descriptions and an interactive identification system for all trade relevant CITES listed (44) timbers, known for their use as lumber and downstream processing into products. In addition, the database covers more than 30 traded timbers which can be mistaken for CITES taxa due to a very similar appearance and/or structural pattern. The practical exercises of the highly motivated participants have demonstrated that the database is ideally suited for all institutions and individuals involved in controlling the import and export of wood and wood products which are regulated by CITES. Furthermore, the database offers a useful tool for educational facilities active in teaching wood anatomy and wood identification. The program of the workshop also included individual presentations regarding the European Timber Regulation (EUTR), applications of DNA fingerprints to control tree species and geographic origin, and a non-destructive wood identification of musical instruments based on 3D-reflected-light microscopy. These presentations can be downloaded here.