New app for the identification of CITES woods

The CITESwoodID App for Smartphones and Tablets is now available for free download in the App stores. A valuable tool for authorities controlling the trade in protected timber.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international convention which regulates the conditions for trade in endangered animal and plant species. It lists more than 38,700 species including important commercial timbers.

The ability to identify CITES-protected wood is of prime importance in the implementation and enforcement of the CITES controls. In order to support the control authorities – in Germany for instance the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and the customs – the CITESwoodID database, set up by the Thünen Institute of Wood Reseach, has now been developed into an app issued by the BfN. Using this app, it is now possible to identify the most important CITES-protected woods on the basis of macroscopic structural features with smartphone or tablet.

The app contains descriptions and an interactive identification system for 46 trade relevant CITES-listed timbers (e.g., ebony, mahogany, rosewood) known for their use as lumber and downstream processing into products. In addition, the database covers 34 traded similar timbers which can be mistaken for CITES taxa. The app has been programmed for Android®, iOS® and UWP® operating systems and is available for free download in German, English, French and Spanish in the respective app stores since October 26.

What has CITESwoodID to offer?

  • interactive identification of the most important CITES-protected timbers (hardwoods and softwoods) based on macroscopic features to be observed with the unaided eye or with a hand lens, high quality colour illustrations of wood characters and timbers featuring transverse (10x) and longitudinal planes (natural size),
  • complete timber descriptions accompanied by high quality colour illustrations depicting characteristic wood features,
  • a textbook with definitions, explanations, procedures, etc. for most features used in the description of the timbers in terms of wood structure.

In this way the app is an innovative tool for teaching at educational facilities with a wood science related curriculum and also suitable for self-education.