Science can identify the source of timber and verifying legality. So it should be a simple case to apply the science to new international legislation that aims to limit illegally logged timber in global supply chains. Well not quite, the application of science requires understanding of the timber industry and supply chain dynamics. A new paper helps identify how science can help eliminate illegal logging.
In May 2014, the Member States of the United Nations adopted Resolution 23/1 on “strengthening a targeted crime prevention and criminal justice response to combat illicit trafficking in forest products, including timber.” The resolution promotes the development of tools and technologies that can be used to combat the illicit trafficking of timber. Stopping illegal logging worldwide could substantially increase revenue from the legal trade in timber and halt the associated environmental degradation, but law enforcement and timber traders themselves are hampered by the lack of available tools to verify timber legality.
A new paper outlines how scientific methods can be used to verify global timber supply chains. These methods, including wood anatomy, DNA and chemical methodsare capable of supporting timber law enforcement and compliance, but work is required to expand the applicability of these methods and provide the certification, policy, and enforcement frameworks needed for effective routine implementation.