Do you know the difference? The CITES timber identification reference system is online!

Timber is one of the most traded products regulated by CITES. Thousands of shipments are on the move at any given time and if any of those shipments are of a CITES-listed species, they need export and import permits for their international journeys. For example, when they arrive at a border, there is a customs officer who must check that what is transported is what is authorized to be transported and that means identifying the species in front of them. This is not an easy task as there are species that look very similar – one of which is from an endangered species and requires a permit, while the other is from a non-threatened species without a permit.

The CITES Secretariat has been working for a long time to help officials with this delicate task of species identification and the latest tool made available is the CITES Timber Identification Toolkit – which is web-based and has just been released. line. Check it here:
It is the first tool of its kind and consists of: manuals, databases, mobile applications, multimedia and infographics and a host of other useful resources. This is the first time that all of these resources have been brought together with the aim of bringing the most useful and relevant tools to CITES Parties.

In addition to customs officials, the standard will help CITES enforcement and scientific authorities do their job to ensure that all trade is legal and poses no risk to the viability of the species in trade.
Currently, the repository consists of nearly 100 resources relevant to the identification of CITES-listed tree species, and over time it will be refined and polished by Parties’ comments and experiences as they arise. will use it.
Among its features, it will allow users to filter the most relevant resources for a given tree species, region or project (such as the CITES Tree Species Programme).
Screenshot Timber Identification Repository

The repository also allows rapid identification of CITES-accredited forensic laboratories that are relevant for the identification of timber tree species.
Welcoming the launch, Isabel Camarena of the CITES Secretariat, said: “The Secretariat is pleased to launch the timber identification standard ahead of the 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties, where in addition to the 500 tree species already listed in the Appendices, Parties will consider listing proposals for an additional 150 tree species. Identification is a key part of regulating international trade and this new resource will give officials the tools they need to be even more effective.

The standard was developed by the Secretariat in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), within the framework of a project in the Lower Mekong, “Support for the implementation of the ‘UN-REDD Sustainable Forest Trade Initiative, with a focus on trade in CITES-listed timber species’ (SFT-LMR-CITES). The project is funded by Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative. UN-REDD is the program that works on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries and Akiko Inoguchi, who is Forestry Officer for Lao PDR and Viet Nam for FAO, also considers the repository a major asset. REDD Program – The Initiative for Sustainable Forest Trade in the Lower Mekong Region is pleased to join the launch of the Timber Identification Repository, which we hope will help national CITES authorities and beyond Lower Mekong countries to better regulate trade in CITES-listed species.

In the future, and as Parties make use of it, the standard will be modified and expanded, to meet the needs of enforcement authorities, customs agencies and scientific authorities in the identification of specimens timber from CITES traded tree species.
This repository is an example of CITES and FAO’s commitment to improving the implementation of global forest-related mandates and contributing effectively to global forest policies and initiatives.

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