Illegal Logging, Forensic Wood Identification and Innovation in Wood Protection

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Illegal Logging, Forensic Wood Identification and Innovation in Wood Protection

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Forests of the Future Seminar Series

We wish to invite you to listen to an international leading researcher and scientist, Professor Phil Evans from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada who will be talking about his latest research into illegal logging, forensic wood identification and innovation in wood protection.

We hope you will join us at this event.

Register your attendance online.

Abstract

Illegal logging, the harvest, transportation, purchase or sale of timber in violation of laws, is a global problem that is accelerating the destruction of tropical forests, distorting international trade in timber and funding other illegal activities including trafficking of narcotics and terrorism. These undesirable impacts of illegal logging have raised the profile of the hitherto neglected field of forensic wood identification, which can play a key role in identifying illegally logged timber and preventing it from accessing international markets. The forensic identification of illegally logged timber using traditional techniques such as microscopy is challenging, because many timbers look alike, but new technology that combines high-speed mass spectrometry with massive data analysis using machine learning algorithms is revolutionizing our ability to rapidly identify timber. In this seminar I describe this technology and show how forensic wood identification can help restrict the global trade in illegally logged timber. l also describe how this desirable outcome could help with the further development and commercialization of novel wood protection systems, which enable plantation timbers to compete with illegally logged naturally durable timber.

Professor Phil Evans

Phil is a Professor at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada and holds a personal chair, British Columbia Leadership Chair in Advanced Forest Products Manufacturing Technology, endowed by some of North America’s leading forest products and chemical companies. He also holds an honorary Professorship in the Department of Applied Mathematics, at The Australian National University. Previously he was Director of Canada’s National Centre for Advanced Wood Processing at UBC. He joined UBC in 2001 from The Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra where he was Director of their Centre for the Science and Engineering of Materials, and Reader in the ANU’s Department of Forestry. Phil’s research focusses on photodegradation and surface protection of wood, and X-ray micro-computed tomography of the micro-structure of wood. His most recent work takes advantage of high speed analytical mass spectrometry and chemometrics for the forensic identification of illegally logged timbers.

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