Scientist from the Thünen Institute of Forest Genetics and Bashkirian State University have recently published an article about SNP markers for timber tracking of Larixspp. in Europe and Russia. Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNPs) are variations in a DNA sequence, which are used by forensics scientists to identify the geographical origin of timber.
The use of molecular markers has grown for timber genetic analysis which in turn facilitates law enforcement on illegal logging. The ultimate aim is that if an officer suspects that a particular batch of wood was illegally harvested, a sample can be to compared to the reference library. This same method can also be used to help sustainable managed forests prove that timber is coming from a certified forest unit. Certifications, while helpful, are not always fully reliable.
Larch timber is mostly harvested in Russia and represents a significant portion of timber traded on the European market.
This study’s leading researcher, Céline Blanc-Jolivet, recently gave GTTN an interview about DNA analysis and its uses. GTTN aims at bringing together professionals from research, business, and (non-)governmental organisations to further develop, apply and promote scientific timber tracking tools to meet the challenge of combating illegal logging and trade, and securing forest management that benefits the environment, economies and people.