Between November 7 and 9, the GTTN Secretariat organized the Regional Workshop for Latin America in Lima, Perú. Over 70 representatives from academia, law enforcement agencies, customs, international organizations and NGOs actively participated in the different sessions. The workshop brought together stakeholders who do usually not communicate: a nature protection policeman from Guatemala, an officer from FAO-EU FLEGT Sub-regional Office in Panama, an associate from the World Resources Institute’s Forests Program and an observer from a Flemish non-profit organization dedicated to sustainable forest management, as well as a researchers from different continents exchanging experiences on their wood identification methods.
The Secretariat’s coordinating partners SERFOR (Peruvian forest authority), IIAP (Research Institute of the Peruvian Amazon), and the German Federal Government Embassy in Peru contributed to set the framework of discussion highlighting the training and articulation needs for a greater development of wood ID technologies. Another coordinating partner, SUNAT (Peru’s customs and tax authority), organized an illustrative excursion to the trade operations at the Callao Port.
After an introduction to the network and the Latin American current GTTN members’ work, the presentations centered in the wood identification methods, and the interest, demand and barriers for timber tracking in the region. Researchers from the Brazilian Forest Service (Brasil), Thünen Institute (Germany), and Cinvestav (Mexico) shared their knowledge and experience with wood anatomy, genetics, stable isotopes, NIRS and DART-TOFMS methods. The results of the “Large Scale Project”, a regional study coordinated by Thünen Institute with collaboration from research institutes from Bolivia, Perú, Guyana, and Brazil, were also discussed. They concluded, for example, that a large number of samples is required, they should focus on critical species due to costs of timber testing, and that the combination of the methods ensures an accurate species identification and their geographic origin.
SERFOR presented their latest version of the Control Module for the Forest and Wildlife Information System, which adds security measures such as a random and a QR code, and encryption to prevent counterfeits in their trade documentation. Data Bosque, a system for improved management of timber operations supported by GIZ, was also introduced to the participants. This platform accounts the information from trees since the inventory is done, and tracks them throughout the logging, production and transportation stages. Cite Madera also presented their experiences using the Xylotron (supported by US Forest Service), echoing the lack of reference data and acknowledging their development in training and use of the tool.
AFIN (Bolivian National Indigenous Forestry Association) took the opportunity to highlight some accomplishment in the indigenous forestry operations, for example, the development of FSC standard (funded by Forests of the World), a project to increase resilience through local greening initiatives (funded by Nordic Climate Facility), and local biodiversity conservation through sustainable forest management (funded by UNDP). These indigenous communities control 30 percent of forested land in the lowlands. The sustainable management of this land is essential to ensure their livelihoods and safeguard ecosystem services.
Other important topics to the network were Intellectual Property Resources and Traditional Knowledge, Access and Benefit Sharing, and international and local exchange of data. Organic material transfer through the Nagoya Protocol has not been ratified by all Latin America countries, and Brazil has its own sui generis framework. The identification of national institutions would benefit capacity building and resources sharing as well as funding for local labs.
The exchange about the development of a regional node included mapping wood identification capacities, discussions on cooperation for sampling, method selection guidance, tree species prioritization, and communications.
A comprehensive report will be shared in the coming weeks with in depth information on the different sessions.
The Regional Workshop in Peru was GTTN’s second regional workshop, following the one in Cameroon for Africa. The main objective of these workshops is to expand the Global Timber Tracking Network and to identify opportunities for collaboration on wood identification and related activities.