Ensuring proof of origin through marker-free tracing of logs

By Holger Kock, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
December 14, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Until now, reliably tracing logs to their origin has been difficult to achieve. Researchers at Fraunhofer IPM and their partners have now shown that logs and trunk sections can be identified based on the structure of the cut surfaces. The recent research project developed a marker-free and tamper-proof method. The optical method allows up to 100% recognition—even under the rough environment conditions of the timber industry. …One objective of the EU timber regulation is to curb illegal timber trade. This is why the regulation requires wood-processing companies to ensure that timber can be traced to its origin along the entire supply chain. The numbering tags, RFID codes and simple color markings commonly used for identifying timber cannot ensure a reliable proof of origin because they are not tamper-proof. So far, alternative methods of marking logs and trunk sections have failed due to high costs and a lack of digitalization.

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