On February 26-28, 2020, the Canadian Forest Service (CFS) of Natural Resources Canada organised a Wood Identification Workshop, in collaboration with Environment and Climate Change Canada, which hosted the workshop at its Pacific Environmental Science Centre in North Vancouver. This workshop, which included a total of 34 participants on site and online, is the follow-up from the one that initiated the CFS wood identification research program in April 2018, in Quebec City. Since 2018, a small group of motivated and dedicated specialists from the Canadian Forest Service, the Wildlife Enforcement and the Science and Technology Branches of Environment and Climate Change Canada, with the Canada Border Services Agency, are working together using science to increase Canada’s capacity to identify tree species in trade and their origin. They are using wood anatomy, genomics, biochemical analysis (DART-QToF and GC-QToF), developing new screening and testing tools for officers (including the XyloTron), training enforcement officers in wood identification, developing wood samples collections and databases, etc.
The main objective of this North Vancouver workshop was strategic planning, by all team members, for the CFS 2020-2023 Wood Identification Research Projects. The Wood ID team reaffirmed their shared vision of creating a Wood Identification Centre of Expertise within the Government of Canada, with the continued objective of providing Canadian wildlife enforcement officers with tools to prevent illegal forest products imports, to contribute to international efforts to combat illegal logging and trade, and to maintain a strong reputation for sustainable and legal Canadian forest products exports.
The workshop featured presentations on the team’s wood identification research projects, as well as presentations from global experts from the United States Forest Service, the World Resources Institute, the Universities of Washington and Connecticut, as well as from the European Forest Institute, which provided an overview of current GTTN initiatives. The workshop participants also had useful discussions about interagency coordination with forestry, enforcement, trade, customs, phytosanitary and prosecution experts.
Finally, GTTN members might also be interested to know that collecting and obtaining access to reference wood samples of exotic tree species, mostly those regulated by CITES, is a priority for the Canadian wood ID team. The team also pilots a study for the collection of Canadian reference samples using the GTTN sampling guide.
Report by Virginie-Mai Hô, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada