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CITESwoodID and macroHOLZdata

Gerald Koch | May 2022

HF Institute of Wood Research

Two tools for the determination of woods are now also available as apps for smartphones and tablets.

Two databases developed at the Thünen Institute of Wood Research, which provide important support for the determination of woods, are now also available as an app for smartphones and tablets. One is the app CITESwoodID, which can be used to identify CITES-protected woods, the other is the app macroHOLZdata for determining the most important internationally traded woods. Both apps are welcome tools for practical use by control authorities, timber trading companies and in science.


The Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) regulates transnational trade in endangered species of wild animals and plants. These include important commercial tree species such as bubinga, mahogany and rosewood, which may only be traded with restrictions or - as in the case of Rio rosewood - only with a special permit.

In order to enforce species protection also for CITES-protected woods, it is essential for the control authorities in Germany to be able to identify questionable woods and to distinguish CITES-listed wood species from similar-looking ones. To support the authorities, the computer-assisted identification key CITESwoodID was developed years ago at the Thünen Institute of Wood Research for the macroscopic identification of protected woods. It was continuously adapted to the respective current CITES listings. The tool has become an important instrument in the practical implementation of wood species identification.

For a mobile application of the database on smartphones and tablets, CITESwoodID apps for Android®, iOS® and UWP® operating systems were programmed in 2020. These provide mobile access to descriptions of 46 CITES-protected and 34 commercial timber species that can be easily confused with CITES species. The apps are available in English, French, German and Spanish as a free download from the respective stores.



The anatomical determination and description of the most important internationally traded woods is of great practical importance for the timber trade, wood processing companies, experts and control authorities. Here, the database macroHOLZdata, developed at the predecessor institution of the Thünen Institute of Wood Research, has proven to be an extremely helpful tool.

The computer-assisted database contains a dialogue-guided recognition and identification of 150 native and non-native commercial woods on the basis of macroscopic characteristics, visible to the naked eye and/or magnifying glass. The database also contains practical information on the properties and uses of the woods. In addition, it is possible to search specifically for wood species with a given property profile.

This database was also programmed as an app for smartphones and tablets and has been available for download free of charge from both the Apple Store and Google Play store in German, English and Spanish since May 2022. The app is also particularly suitable for digital education and training.



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