Independent tools are needed to verify timber origin. We still depend on external tags and documents to check wood origin. Unfortunately, both can be falsified. Therefore we need tracing methods based on the intrinsic properties of the wood. This is the goal of Timtrace: we are developing a fast, accurate and cost-effective forensic tool for tracing the claimed origin of tropical timber.
It can help companies to show their due diligence for legal, sustainable timber. It can help governments to combat the illegal timber trade. And it enables us to better understand the genetic and chemical principles to explain the variation within species.
Timtrace verifies the geographical origin of tropical timber. We apply multiple methods:
(1) chemical methods, including stable isotopes (e.g. δ13C, δ18O, δ15N), trace elements and rare earth elements in wood that can be matched with regional reference data and
(2) genetic analyses, using microsatellite markers and SNPs to distinguish trees from different populations.