alexa Control of Internationally Traded Timber - The Role of
ISSN: 2157-7145

Journal of Forensic Research
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Research Article

Control of Internationally Traded Timber - The Role of Macroscopic and Microscopic Wood Identification against Illegal Logging

Gerald Koch*, Volker Haag, Immo Heinz, Hans-Georg Richter and Uwe Schmitt

Thünen Institute of Wood Research, Hamburg, Germany

*Corresponding Author:
Gerald Koch
Thünen Institute of Wood Research
Leuschnerstr. 91, D-21031 Hamburg, Germany
Tel: ++49 40 73962410
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: October 19, 2015; Accepted Date: December 24, 2015; Published Date: December 29, 2015

Citation: Koch G, Haag V, Heinz I, Richter HG, Schmitt U (2015) Control of Internationally Traded Timber - The Role of Macroscopic and Microscopic Wood Identification against Illegal Logging. J Forensic Res 6:317. doi: 10.4172/2157-7145.1000317

Copyright: © 2015 Koch G, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



As a contribution to global forest protection international laws and timber regulations are currently enacted, such as the USA Lacey Act, the European Timber regulation (EUTR) and, most recently, the Illegal Logging Prohibition Act in Australia. All such regulations prohibit the import and trade of illegally forested wood and wood products. Regarding these new regulations wood traders are required to exercise “due diligence” including the correct declaration and origin of wood species. The identification of the timber is also important for the assessment of product properties (viz. consumer protection) as lower-grade substitute timbers are imported at a distinctly increasing rate. In the context of these new challenges wood anatomy provides the most valuable support for practical wood identification and is routinely applied in the daily control of wood and wood products. Using light microscopic techniques, up to 100 anatomical characters can be used following the internationally standardized IAWA lists of “Microscopic Features for Hardwood and Softwood Identification”. Overall, the microscopic descriptions of about 8,700 taxa of hardwoods are currently available and documented in several computerized databases, e.g., InsideWood or Commercial timbers (Delta-Intkey-System). By using these important references, the Thünen Centre of Competence on the Origin of Timber, Germany has answered more than 1,000 official requests (including approx. 5,000 specimens) for microscopic wood identification since the implementation of the EUTR in Germany (March 2013).


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