Forensic timber tracing

TIMTRACE in COVID-19 times

It’s been a while since our last blog post! Many things happened in the world over the last months. This was no different for us…

In March, Barbara and two Dutch students went to Cameroon, ready to start our next field campaign. Unfortunately they already flew back to The Netherlands within days after their arrival, and Laura’s flight was cancelled alltogether.. COVID-19 had to be taken seriously. University policy was in line with our decision: no fieldwork in the coming months.

This was a big change of plans for us: from two months in the forest, hugging trees, we were back in the Netherlands. Luckily over time some of the laboratories were opened bit by bit, so we did not have to sit still. With samples from the first Cameroon trip (Sep/Oct 2019) and from collaborators, both Barbara and Laura were able to conduct some lab work. As a result, we will have quite some cool data to work on (from home)!

The project goes on

And as we are getting used to working from home, we also had our third Users Committee meeting already – from home. Potential users and interested parties join us every six months, to see what we are up to. It was great to get input and discuss ideas, our previous & coming work. We discussed potential scenarios on how to work around the delays and we feel pretty confident we are able to continue the Timtrace project in these challenging times.

We have also been active working on ‘the bigger picture’. A large group of scientists, companies and other researchers are collaborating within the Global Timber Tracking Network, to set up a global database for timber tracing info. Mart has already uploaded some of our data, and the database should be online later this year. Keep an eye out for https://globaltimbertrackingnetwork.org/products/reference-database/, it will be interesting for sure!

For now: stay safe everybody! And we hope to be back in the forest soon.

Cameroon September 2019. Picture by Pierre Kapseu

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