Neil Garbutt, from the International Forest Policy Section of the Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, a GTTN member, joined the Experts Group on Illegal Logging and Associated Trade (EGILAT) workshop during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and hosted by the Chilean Government. We would like to share his summary report about the meeting that took place at end of February 2019 under the motto: “Workshop to Share Experience, Knowledge and Challenges in Implementation of Tools for Combatting Illegal Logging Activities and Associated Trade”. And as multifaceted as the motto, the meeting itself was diversified and full of interesting impressions.
Throughout the workshop there were 14 presentations, raising important questions and giving insights on the participant’s professional experiences in order to combat illegal logging activities. There were many familiar faces of our network as well as esteemed partners who shared their knowledge and practical examples.
Among other, Ruth Nguyen from the WRI has highlighted the development of the Global Forest Watch Global Land Analysis and Discovery (GLAD) Alerts. This application, created at the University of Maryland, is the first Landsat-based alert system for tree cover loss.
SERFOR was represented by Blanca Pance, who presented their satellite monitoring project. Although this system is quite complex, it surely has an impact on Peruvian forestry estate. Due to a lack of resources and the limited capability of identifying locations of illegal logging, it is still a major challenge to enforce this approach in a country that has a forest cover of about 53%.
Yafang Yin from the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF) gave an update on wood identification tools to promote legal timber trade in China. Besides highlighting the different tools, such as wood anatomy, stable isotype and others, he noted that there is a reducing amount of wood anatomy experts on a global scale. Although it used to be well funded, there is currently a decline of the support. He also offered to share the Chinese Academy of Forestry wood samples.
Shelly Gardner from US Forest Service presented their tool Xylotron to help timber identification and support of law enforcement in both, forest and important points of transit such as loading, checkpoints or lumber yards. Xylotron works by taking a magnified picture of a wood sample, which will then be compared against an open reference image collection.
Finally, Professor Andy Lowe from the University of Adelaide held a presentation on a tool that identifies DNA Finger Prints for Timber. In collaboration with Thünen Institute, the project is developing gene markers that show high genetic differentiation among trees of different locations. These samples are screened for DNA fingerprints and stable isotopes to provide a genetic and chemical reference database to control the country of origin.
See event details here.