Study : Verifying claims

Creating verifiable timber origin claims from the Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands is seeing exploitation of natural resources accelerating to such a zenith where its natural forests may be exhausted by 2036.

The main cause of natural forest loss on the archipelago is unsustainable or illegal logging practices.

Results show that significant differences are evident in the stable isotope ratios of the sampled taxa within the Solomon Islands (Guadalcanal and Kolombangara Islands) and between other countries.

This study sought to establish scientific methodology to assess geographic origin claims of timber declared to have originated from the Solomon Islands to enable operators to carry out due diligence analysis and permit members of Law Enforcement to conduct forensic investigations.

Eighty timber core samples comprising thirteen different genera of tropical trees were obtained from mature trees in Guadalcanal and Kolombangara islands.

Samples were subject to 18O/16O, D/H, 13C/12C, 15N/14N and 34S/32S stable isotope analysis using elemental analysis-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (EA-IRMS). Additional stable isotope data from relevant taxa and geographic origins (altitude, geographic co-ordinates) was also included in this research to assess differentiation between countries.

Results show that significant differences are evident in the stable isotope ratios of the sampled taxa within the Solomon Islands (Guadalcanal and Kolombangara Islands) and between other countries.

These data can be used to evaluate origin claims of timber or wood products from the Solomon Islands, particularly Kolombangara Island.

Furthermore, in the right context, these data can also be used to establish whether timber or wood products declared to be from origins other than the Solomon Islands, has stable isotope ratios that are consistent with data from the Solomon Islands.

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