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Identification of Tropical Hardwood in paper

Pulp of „Mixed Tropical Hardwood"
© Thünen Institut/Andrea Olbrich
Pulp of „Mixed Tropical Hardwood"

Varification of tropical timbers in paper - Chemotaxonomy and anatomy for identification of Mixed Tropical Hardwood

Does your paper contain protected tropical wood species? For verifying their presence in paper adequate methods are needed. The scope of the project - sponsored by the “Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt“ - is to establish references for identification of tropical timbers in paper.

Background and Objective

Worldwide, the aim is to protect the tropical rainforest as an unique ecosystem. In South East Asia, according to reports by NGOs, illegally harvested and in some cases even protected tropical timber is used for paper production. The EU timber regulation consequently regulates not only solid timber but also the import of paper and pulp in order to prevent illegal practices. Monitoring and compliance with this law, which came into force in March 2013, requires methods for identifying tropical wood species in paper. The references required for these methods were largely only available for North American and European woods before the start of the foregoing projects. In these projects first references were successfully established and published. The aim of the current project is to establish new references for other relevant tropical timbers.

The project is carried out in cooperation with the University of Hamburg - Institute for Wood Sciences, the Technical University of Darmstadt and ISEGA.


The references for 38 tropical timbers from Asia created in the two foregoing projects will be aggrandized by 20 further relevant tropical species in the current project. For this, small fragments of the corresponding timber from the scientific collection of the Thünen Institute are dissolved and stained. Under the reflected light microscope, the characteristic cells are dissected out and savable microscopic preparations are made from them. The resulting slides are then available as references for direct comparison with unknown samples. Thereafter, high-quality light micrographs of the individual cells are made and the anatomical characteristics of the cells of the timbers are described. These data will be published at a later date to make the references available to all testing institutes worldwide.

Involved external Thünen-Partners

  • Universität Hamburg
    (Hamburg, Deutschland)
  • Technische Universität Darmstadt
    (Darmstadt, Deutschland)
  • ISEGA - Forschungs- und Untersuchungsgesellschaft mbH
    (Aschaffenburg, Deutschland)

Funding Body

  • German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU)
    (national, öffentlich)


8.2018 - 1.2021

More Information

Project funding number: Az 34295/01
Project status: finished

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