Approximately 30-90% of all tropical hardwood is harvested illegally. Paper fraud is still a crucial factor in ineffective timber tracking. Researchers from the Department of Forest Ecology and Forest Management of Wageningen University succeeded in developing a method to effectively determine illegal timber.
Genetic wood characteristics are excellent indicators for determining the origin of timber species, says Mart Vlam from Wageningen University, which is why the researchers were able to distinguish the origin of the African timber Tali between areas only 14 km apart from each other.
To learn more about their method and about what still needs to happen for it to be used as proof in court, check out their most recent paper: Developing forensic tools for an African timber: Regional origin is revealed by genetic characteristics, but not by isotopic signature (2018) in our document library.