Independent tools are needed to verify timber origin. We still depend on external tags and documents to check the origin of wood. Unfortunately, both can be falsified. Therefore we need tracing methods that are based on the properties of the wood itself. 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 verify trade claims and 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 and
(2) genetic analyses, using microsatellite markers and SNPs to distinguish trees from different populations.