The World Forest ID (WFID) consortium is building the world’s largest geo-referenced, open source, forest sample collection. With this collection a range of scientific methods are being used to confirm or challenge claims about the species and provenance of forest products, to tackle fraud, illegal logging and deforestation.

The integrity of sample libraries is critical to using science to disrupt illicit supply chains and promote due diligence.

World Forest ID has established protocols and tools for sample collection which ensure that all forest source material lodged in the collection will be subject to the highest levels of scrutiny.

Once material is in the collection the WFID partnership is developing a database of chemical, isotopic, and anatomical reference material against which certified labs can assess the species and origin claims of traded timber.

TECHNOLOGIES USED

Scientific methods for validating timber species and origin are evolving as new technologies are being continuously explored and tested. Through World Forest ID our efforts are currently focused on chemical and anatomical analyses, but as our team of scientists grows we expect to pilot new, cutting-edge methodologies.

Stable isotope ratio analysis: This technique is used to recognize geographical location. It works by measuring the natural variation of the isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, hydrogen and oxygen.

DART-TOFMS (Direct Analysis in Real Time – Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry): This technique is used to accurately identify small slivers of wood to species level. With adequate reference materials this technique can also identify general geographic origin.

Wood anatomy: This technique can be used to identify wood samples, usually to genus level, and if provenance information can be trusted, sometimes to species level. Currently it requires the expertise of a wood anatomist but image analysis, artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques are being developed.

THE CONSORTIUM

The consortium is made up of five institutions representing government as well as the scientific, environmental and forestry sectors – working together towards the declared species and origin of all commercially traded forest products being verified through this innovative combination of science and technology.  

Agroisolab are experts in stable isotope ratio analysis (SIRA) with a two-decade background checking the validity of organic and origin claims of traded food products. Over the past decade they have developed similar capabilities and experience in the authentication of declared origin of timber, and deliver SIRA as a timber authentication service to counter-fraud and commercial customers in international timber markets.

With over 350 scientists, Kew’s scientific research stretches from the discovery and identification of new species, to the impact of climate change on threatened habitats. We strive to reveal the importance of plants and fungi in our everyday lives.

For more than 25 years Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has worked to ensure sustainable forest management of forests worldwide. FSC provides organizations and consumers with the assurance that the forest products they buy and sell come from responsibly managed resources. A key part of FSC’s work is to innovate new solutions to help safeguard our forests globally.
(FSC F000100)

US Forest Service International Programs works in over 90 countries on a broad range of technical and cooperative programs. Its Wood Identification & Screening Center (WISC) furthers technologies, databases, and training for wood ID around the world

World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research organization that spans more than 60 countries. Our more than 1,000 experts and staff turn big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being.