Large scale project on genetic timber verification (LargeScale)


Thünen-Institute of Forest Genetics, Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture of Germany.

Responsable scientifique

Niklas Tysklind
Bernd Degen

Présentation du projet

Illegal logging is one of the chief causes of worldwide deforestation. Moreover, trade with illegal timber and wood products creates market disadvantages for products from legal sustainable forestry. Several legal instruments have been established against illegal logging and the related trade (e.g. EU timber trade regulation with its national implementation in Germany (HSiG)). However, mislabelling and false labelling may circumvent such legal instruments and allow illegal timber to remain in international markets.

DNA testing methods have been shown to be efficient tools to verify the requested claims on the botanical species and the country of origin of timber. LARGESCALE will develop genetic testing framework to check the botanical species and country of origin for timber of 14 high priority species in Africa and Latin America. On a first instance, a suite of highly-informative single nucleotide markers (SNPs) will be developed for each species: restriction site-associated DNA sequencing (RADseq) of a few individuals per species will generate several thousand SNPs, from which the best SNPs with maximum power of assignment to populations will be selected. Reference maps of the distribution of genetic diversity for each species will be produced, against which samples to be assigned can be compared. Blind samples will be used to validate the assignment models.

The suite of highly informative markers will allow 1) verification of botanical species; 2) calculation of an assignment probability of membership of a population present in a particular country; 3) verification that a particular individual code follows a particular individual tree. Such a genetic testing framework will give legal enforcement officers the means to find evidence of law infraction, and its general implementation would render illegal timber trading less attractive.

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