Head of Unit

Dr. Heike Liesebach

Sieker Landstraße 2

22927 Großhansdorf

Telefon +49 4102 696 158

Fax +49 4102 696 200

e-Mail: heike.liesebach@  thuenen.de  

Species identification and timber tracking system in Africa with DNA fingerprints and stable isotopes in Africa

Project

 (c)

Development and implementation of a species identification and timber tracking system in Africa with DNA fingerprints and stable isotopes in Africa

The projects aims to develop genetic and isotopic reference data to test the geographic origin of important African timber species

Background and Objective

Illegal logging and associated trade are the cause of many economic and ecological problems both in timber producer and timber consumer countries. Although many legal instruments (EU timber trade regulation, US Lacey Act etc.) have been established to combat illegal logging and trade of illegally sourced timber, practical controls mechanisms to identify the tree species and geographic origin of wood and wood products are still lacking. DNA fingerprints and stables isotopes techniques use characters inherent to the timber (impossible to falsify) and the combination of both methods guarantee a high spatial resolution and a strong statistical power at higher cost efficiency for the control of origin of wood and wood products.

Approach

Within the ITTO project (2012-2015) we are developing and implementing tools to identify and control tree species and geographic origin using DNA fingerprints and stable isotopes in the following seven African countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo Dem. Rep, Congo Rep., Gabon, Ghana and Kenya. For the three economically important target species iroko (Milicia excelsa, M. regia), sapelli (Entandrophragma cylindricum) and ayou (Triplochiton scleroxylon) we are developing genetic and stable isotope reference data bases as a tool to control the declared geographic origin of wood. For these species we are sampling over the distribution area of the species leaves or cambium and wood samples. We are developing gene markers that show a high genetic differentiation among trees of different locations and work also for processed timber. The samples are screened for DNA fingerprints and stable isotopes and provide in this way a genetic and chemical reference data base to control the country of origin. Tools to identify the species will be further developed using DNA barcoding for 20 important African timber species. As measures of capacity building and technology transfer three reference labs in West-Africa (Kumasi, Ghana), Central-Africa (Libreville, Gabon) and East-Africa (Nairobi, Kenya) are getting established and staff of these labs but also from other African groups are getting trained to apply DNA-techniques and wood anatomy to identify the tree species and to perform simple DNA tests to check the origin.

Thünen-Contact


Involved Thünen-Partners


Involved external Thünen-Partners


Funding Body

  • International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO)
    (international, öffentlich)

Duration

1.2012 - 7.2015

More Information

Projekt type:
Project status: finished

Publications

hits: 6

  1. Degen B, Blanc-Jolivet C, Stierand K, Gillet E (2017) A nearest neighbour approach by genetic distance to the assignment of individual trees to geographic origin. Forensic Sci Int Genetics 27:132-141, DOI:10.1016/j.fsigen.2016.12.011
  2. Blanc-Jolivet C, Kersten B, Bourland N, Guichoux E, Delcamp A, Doucet J-L, Degen B (2017) Development of nuclear SNP markers for the timber tracking of the African tree species Sapelli, Entandrophragma cylindricum. Conserv Genet Resources:in Press, DOI:10.1007/s12686-017-0872-4
  3. Jardine DI, Blanc-Jolivet C, Dixon RR, Dormontt EE, Dunker B, Gerlach J, Kersten B, Dijk K-J van, Degen B, Lowe AJ (2016) Development of SNP markers for Ayous (Triplochiton scleroxylon K. Schum) an economically important tree species from tropical West and Central Africa. Conserv Genet Resources 8:129-139, DOI:10.1007/s12686-016-0529-8
  4. Dormontt EE, Boner M, Braun B, Breulmann G, Degen B, Espinoza E, Gardner S, Guillery P, Hermanson JC, Koch G, Lee SL, Kanashiro M, Rimbawanto A, Thomas D, Wiedenhoeft AC, Yin Y, Zahnen J (2015) Forensic timber identification: it's time to integrate disciplines to combat illegal logging. Biol Conserv 191:790-798, DOI:10.1016/j.biocon.2015.06.038
  5. Degen B, Bouda ZH-N (2015) Verifying timber in Africa. ITTO Trop Forest Update 24(1):8-10
  6. Degen B, Sebbenn AM (2014) Genetics and tropical forests. In: Pancel L, Köhl M (eds) Tropical forestry handbook. Berlin: Springer, pp 1-30, DOI:10.1007/978-3-642-41554-8_75-1