This statement has been prepared following publication of the summary record of the EUTR-FLEGT Expert Group meeting of 20 September 2017, and subsequent briefing provided by DoubleHelix at the Timber Regulatory Enforcement Exchange meeting on 23 October 2017. It provides an update of recent activities and a short-term roadmap of activities intended to address concerns raised at these meetings.
Implementation of a verification system using genetics
In a move to facilitate trade flows for teak exporters in Myanmar, the University of Adelaide and DoubleHelix have launched a project to implement a DNA-based timber verification system for Burmese teak. This system aims to support the Myanmar timber trade in meeting increasingly strict import regulations in the EU and USA.
The last of four defendants prosecuted for stealing wood from Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington State, USA, pled guilty last month, in a landmark case that marks the first time the U.S. government has prosecuted a Lacey Act case for illegal interstate trade of wood products within the United States. DNA evidence developed by a consortium of experts was an important element of the Government’s case against the timber thieves.
Developing DNA fingerprinting and other tools for verifying timber species and geographical origin claims in tropical Africa
To demonstrate the applicability of DNA fingerprints and stable isotopes, ITTO partnered with Thünen Institute of Forest Genetics in Germany, along with 14 collaborative agencies in Africa, Asia Pacific and Europe to implement Project PD 620/11 Rev.1 (M): "Development and implementation of species identification and timber tracking in Africa with DNA fingerprints and stable isotopes".
Three focus species were selected by representatives of the 7 participating African countries (Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya) for the development of DNA fingerprinting and stable isotope reference databases. These species - iroko, sapelli, ayous - are estimated to exceed 10 million m³ in yearly production, of which more than 1 million m³ is exported. They occur widely in participating countries and are economically important in tropical Africa.
After more than 5,400 samples collected and 1,000 gene markers developed, a genographic reference map based on these data was created. This can verify claims of geographic origin on wood samples of the 3 species, by matching genetic markers from the sample to the genetic clusters in the reference data. This is also known as DNA fingerprinting.
With strong industry and on-the-ground exposure, DoubleHelix organised the project workshops in close collaboration with Thunen Institute. Read the full story here, as published in the ITTO Tropical Forest Update 24/1.
Genetics testing used to prove authenticity of 500 year old medieval royal oak bed frame
A richly-ornamented bed frame is finally unveiled to the public with its identity confirmed to be an authentic survival of Tudor royal furniture, with a bit of help from modern technology. Discovered at auction in 2010, research on its provenance, structure and symbolism narrowed it down as the bed made for the marriage of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York on 18 January 1486.
Imagine what drones can do for your audit reports
We launched the first test flight of a quad-copter drone on 23 – 24 December 2014 in the forests of a timber concession. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) mapped a section of river corridor and captured aerial photographs of road networks and the log yard.
Cheap, Efficient, Accurate
Quad-copters are inexpensive and are perfect for use in forest environments, as they are portable and able to launch vertically through gaps in the forest canopy.
A Standardised Approach
This pilot was part of a larger project funded by The World Resources Institute to develop a standardized methodology for using drones in land use monitoring, termed Systemised Operational Land Use Aerial Reconnaissance (SOLAR).
SOLAR also covers the use of fixed wing drones which can fly longer and further in agricultural environments to monitor land-use. This part of the project was developed with support from Cargill and can be applied to all plantation types.
We've recently welcomed Avalyn Lim into our ranks as our new Director, Strategic Partnerships. She is working to collaborate with various parts of the Singapore government.
As a Singapore company we want to help position Singapore as an international hub for genetics and legality; that we are creating a new sector with the potential to bring into Singapore large scale international funding for Genetic Infrastructure projects.