Tracing timber origin

Overview of current practices in data analysis for wood identification. A guide for the different timber tracking methods

Schmitz, N. (ed.), H. Beeckman, C. Blanc-Jolivet, L. Boeschoten, J.W.B. Braga, J.A.Cabezas, G. Chaix, S. Crameri, B. Degen, V. Deklerck, E. Dormontt, E. Espinoza, P.Gasson, V. Haag, S. Helmling, M. Horacek, G. Koch, C. Lancaster, F. Lens, A. Lowe, S.Martínez-Jarquín, J.A. Nowakowska, A. Olbrich, K. Paredes-Villanueva, T.C.M. Pastore,T. Ramananantoandro, A.R. Razafimahatratra, P. Ravindran, G. Rees, L.F. Soares, N.Tysklind, M. Vlam, C. Watkinson, E. Wheeler, R. Winkler, A.C. Wiedenhoeft, V.Th. Zemke, P. Zuidema – GTTN (2020)


Today we have five types of timber tracking tools available. Each has its own strengths and limitations (see the Timber Tracking Tool Infogram), but together they offer a broad range of methods that can assist us in identifying the botanical as well as the geographic origin (provenance) of most kinds of timber samples, even those smaller than 1 cm³. With this guide we want to provide an overview of the current best-practice methods used to analyse data derived from different wood identification methods, while presenting their respective strengths and limitations. We give advice on data analysis, from the development of reference data, through to the verification of identity and provenance of unknown samples against the reference database. We end with an expert view on combining methods for wood identification and discuss how timber identification possibilities could expand in the future.

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