Skip to main content
Institute of

HF Wood Research


CITES-protected timber

© Thünen-Institut/Sarah Bayer

Expert advice on CITES regulations and control of internationally traded and protected timber

The CITES Convention lists endangered tree species and restricts their trade. The Thünen Institute of Wood Research provides assistance in the implementation and monitoring of the CITES guidelines.

Background and Objective

Important commercial tree species, such as true mahogany or the entire Dalbergia species (rosewoods) are protected according to the CITES-regulations. The trade with the endangered species is strongly regulated or forbidden and requires a clear identification of the species (genus/species) and also detailed knowledge on the individual protection status, which is defined in Appendices A, B and C with different footnotes.

Based on this context, the Thünen Institute of Wood Research receives regular enquiries from consumers, authorities and environmental associations regarding the identification of wood species, protection status and trade regulations (approval procedures and documentation requirements). This trade-relevant information are regularly updated and included in the database CITESwoodID.

In addition, the Thünen Institute prepares statements on behalf of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and the International CITES Plant Committee for the approval of new CITES lists of endangered commercial timmber. The statements essentially comprise information on the market relevance and properties of the timber as well as descriptions of their macroscopic and microscopic structural features for clear identification. These expertises are of great practical importance regarding the trade with CITES-protected timber. Furthermore, the information are also presented in national and international training courses.

Target Group

Public authorities, environmental associations and consumers


  • Provision of information on the individual protection status of CITES timber and their footnotes.
  • Inclusion of trade-related information in the database CITESwoodID database, which is regularly updated.
  • Macroscopic and microscopic investigations for the anatomical description and identification of endangered or over-exploded timber.

Our Research Questions

Control of CITES-protected timber in trade. Which CITES timber can be detected in internationally traded woods and wood products?

Which individual trade restrictions have to be taken into account?

Preliminary Results

Update of the database CITESwoodID. The version (2018) includes the most important 44 CITES-protected commercial timbers used for sawn timber and processed products, as well as 31 commercial timbers that can be easily mistaken because of their similar appearance.

Links and Downloads

Involved external Thünen-Partners

  • Bundesamt für Naturschutz BfN
    (Bonn/Vilm, Deutschland)


Permanent task 1.2022 - 12.2025

More Information

Project status: ongoing

Scroll to top