A new publication lead-authored by Melita C. Low and many GTTN colleagues, sheds light on the availability of reference data for wood identification methods. The publication presents the status of these methods for the top 322 global priority timber taxa. The results show that for species identification, reference data exist for 100% of taxa using wood anatomy, 86% using genetics, 41% for using DART TOFMS, and 6% using NIRS. For origin identification, data exist for 24% of taxa, with most studies applying genetic approaches (23%). No studies have developed forensic-ready tests for the global priority timber taxa. The review highlights that the current potential for identifying species is greater than for geographic origin and more research focused on determining the geographical origin of timber is required. Based on the current rate, it will take approx. 27 years to generate geographic data for all 322 priority taxa. The findings indicate more research is needed urgently to enable scientific verification of wood identification in support of the fight against illegal logging.
The IAWA Journal article can be accessed on the publisher’s website.
Congratulations to the authors!