How to stop illegal logging by identifying the origin of the wood? - ATIBT
A visit from World Forest ID to the ATIBT gave us an insight into this interesting approach. Tackling global deforestation and degradation requires that the actors involved in global supply chains have the means to accurately verify the identity and geographic source of both timber and deforestation-related agricultural commodities.
There is legislation around the world requiring organisations involved in trading timber to ensure it is legal and multiple voluntary certification schemes designed to ensure timber originates from well-managed sources. New, more rigorous regulations are being considered in Europe, the UK and the US. All the current control mechanisms rely on reviewing documents describing the sale and purchase of goods between organisations in the supply chain, because there is little to be learned by looking at the timber itself. With modern information technology - it is simple to produce false documentation, and the process is prone to errors. It’s easy to cheat and hard to catch.
World Forest ID solves this problem by making it possible to determine the origin of the timber directly. State-of-the-art technologies now make it possible to use the chemical information contained in plants to identify, accurately and reliably, the species and origin of a product—all with just a small sliver of material. Historically, the biggest hurdle to using these technologies, such as stable isotope ratio analysis (SIRA) and Direct Analysis in Real Time mass spectrometry (DART), has been the lack of available chemical reference datasets from forests and agriculture fields around the world, which could be used as a global reference - a “map” of sorts. Such reference maps would allow the testing and matching of products to the origin from where they were grown.
World Forest ID needs lots of reference samples. As a generalization, more samples equals better data, higher resolution, and more accuracy, but at a higher cost - for the collection and analysis. It is also important to collect them carefully - keeping note of the type of tree and precise location. Each sample will then need to be sent to more than one laboratory - clearly identified and without contamination - to ensure data quality.
World Forest ID has worked with the University of Tennessee to develop software specifically to support the reference sample collection process. The tool works on a smartphone and guides the user through the whole sampling process, whilst making use of the camera and GPS tracking features to identify and locate the tree. Sample collectors are also provided with sealable bags and unique barcode labels to avoid contamination and ensure correct identification at the lab. Sample collectors are being recruited from the many organisations that already send people into forests - including independent auditors for the voluntary certification schemes, forest workers, forest community members, and research scientists.
All reference samples are sent to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew (a World Forest ID partner organisation) for processing. Kew has an international reputation for plant science and hosts some of the largest curated collections of plant material in the world - including the Millennium Seed Bank. They have deep experience of receiving, handling, identifying and storing plant material - a complex business that requires government licensing as well as highly specialised skills and knowledge.
Analysis and building the reference database
All living organisms consist of the ‘life’ elements - hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen - with a little phosphorus and sulphur. In trees, these elements are formed into a wide variety of structures such as cellulosic material (up to 75% of the total), lignin (up to 35% of the total), ‘extractives’ (up to 20% of the total) and ash (around 1%). The proportions of each, and their specific structures, are indicative of the type of tree - oak trees are quite different to maples and poplars. Modern analytical techniques can make use of these differences.
There are always these chemicals present in products manufactured from plants. These structures were ‘built’ by the tree - via photosynthesis - using local sources of life elements absorbed from the land, water and air. Mass spectroscopy uses high energy electrons to break apart those structures - forming electrically charged fragments. Under controlled conditions, identical structures break apart consistently producing predictable and unique fragmentation patterns. Being electrically charged, the fragments can be propelled through space using electromagnetic force. Since the speed at which they move is directly proportional to their size and their electrical charge it is possible to determine the original structures in the timber by measuring how long it takes for all the fragments to travel a set distance - their ‘time of flight’. In addition, the local sources of life elements exhibit measurable variation from place to place, making it possible to determine where the tree grew, often to within less than 50 km.
Bringing it all together
World Forest ID has been created to bring all the required components together in a coherent, and reliable global service. From designing the reference sample collection programme, to building a global network of qualified laboratories and developing the terms and conditions under which samples are analysed to ensure the reference data is maintained over the long term as a ‘public good’ and made available to global supply chain actors, enforcement agencies and researchers the World over.
Indeed, it is the configuration of World Forest ID that is so important and compelling. This is a global collaboration project, connecting the dots between existing technologies and institutions, using open data techniques and standards to provide an invaluable service to global timber and indeed planet Earth.
World Forest ID has built wood sample collections for over 100 species from 21 countries. It has expanded its work to collect samples of soy, cocoa, and coffee to support the use of science-based traceability for both wood and forest-risk commodities. Tracing wood and these commodities using stable isotopes is included in the legislation that is being considered by the European Union. It is thus important that those involved in the wood industry understand how these technologies work and where the can be applied.
This thematic summary and Compendium serve to compile the discussions, recommendations and conclusions reached over 4 intensive days of work in thematic ateliers (Streams), plenary, side events and political discussions.
Mr Christophe Guilhou, Director of Sustainable Development, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, France, and Mr Ghislain Moussavou, Director General of Forests, Ministry of Water, Forests, the Sea and the Environment, in charge of the Climate Plan and the Land Use Plan, Gabon, were officially installed as CBFP Facilitators on 12 July 2023 during a ceremony to hand over the CBFP Facilitation from Germany to Gabon and France, presided over by Prof. Sanctus Niragira, Minister of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock, Burundi, and current Chairman of COMIFAC.
At the 11th Meeting of the Governing Council of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) on 12 July 2023, the Honourable Dr. Christian Ruck presented to the members of the said Council an 11 point summary of the activities carried out by the CBFP Facilitation of the Federal Republic of Germany during its mandate....
The French-Gabonese facilitation is part of this unprecedented framework. Firstly, because this is the first time since the creation of the Partnership that this work has been carried out jointly by a donor country, France, and a Congo Basin forest country, Gabon. In addition, the One Forest Summit, held in Libreville in March 2023, reiterated the importance of Central Africa's forests, promoting greater scientific cooperation, sustainable value chains and the development of innovative financing mechanisms.
The 11th meeting of the CBFP Governing Council was held on July 12, 2023 in Yaoundé, Cameroon. This "statutory" meeting in the organised by the CBFP, of which the objective was to present the Roadmap of the Franco-Gabonese Facilitation to the members of the CBFP Governing Council, took place just after the handover of the CBFP Facilitation from Germany to France and Gabon.
M. Christophe GUILHOU was recently appointed Co-Facilitator of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) by the Government of the French Republic for the period July 2023 to 2025. Please download his biography...
The presentations of the CBFP geographical blocks at the Second International Conference of Ministers on Transboundary Transhumance Nexus: transhumance, protected areas and natural resources, development, peace and security from 10 to 12 July in Yaoundé Cameroon are available. Please download the presentations of the Country Investment Plans (PIP) of the different blocks....
The Congo Basin, sometimes referred to as the “heart of Africa” and “lungs of the world,” absorbs more carbon than the tropical forests of the Amazon and Southeast Asia combined. It's home to 75 million people and species found nowhere else on Earth. Yet these forests are disappearing at alarming rates.
We hereby cordially invite you to our regional launch of the German cooperation project "Peaceful and inclusive transhumance in Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria, and Chad" at the Second International Conference of Ministers on Transboundary Transhumance.
Dear Panelists, dear Guests, You are invited to take part in the sharing and reflection workshop that IOM Cameroon and KAS are organizing on the theme: "Practical solutions to migration, security and climate change: Initiatives and commitments by civil society and the United Nations to address and resolve challenges". As part of the Second International Ministerial Conference on Transboundary Transhumance - Nexus.
Yaoundé, July 4, 2023 - From July 10 to 12, 2023, under the high patronage of the President of the Republic of Cameroon, His Excellency Paul Biya, Cameroon will host the Second International Conference of Ministers on Transboundary Transhumance Nexus: transhumance, protected areas and natural resources, development, peace and security. Please download the Document...
The Global Environment Facility’s governing board has approved plans to establish a “game-changing” new fund to finance the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which aims to put nature on a recovery path by the end of this decade. The GEF Council decision, taken during a meeting in Brazil, clears the way for the launch of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund at the Seventh GEF Assembly, to take place in Vancouver, Canada, in August.
The purpose of the visit on Friday June 23, 2023 was for the team from the Ministry of External Relations of Cameroon (MIREX) to make sure that the Hilton's facilities are adequate to welcome the ministers and participants expected to attend the Ministers' Conference on transborder Transhumance from July 10 to 12, 2023.
This is the objective of the virtual meeting held this Monday, June 19, 2023, between the CBFP Facilitation of the Federal Republic of Germany, headed by the Honorable Dr. Christian Ruck, and some fifteen networks and forums that are members of the CBFP Civil Society College.
"I've already attended the COP in France, in Egypt, and everyone kept talking about the Amazon. So I said to myself: why not hold the conference here, so that everyone knows about the Amazon?", justified Lula. A climate summit in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announced on Friday May 26 that the UN had chosen the Amazonian town of Belem to host the COP30 climate conference in 2025. "It will be an honor for Brazil to receive representatives from all over the world in our Amazon," Lula wrote on social networks.
The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) will deploy $63 million in urgent funding for countries on the frontlines of climate change following a meeting of the Global Environment Facility-managed funds in Brazil.
Douala, Cameroon, May 24-26, 2023. As part of the implementation of the recommendations of the first high-level concertation for peaceful transborder transhumance in the Lake Chad Basin, held in Ndjamena in September 2019, ECCAS and ECOWAS have undertaken a mapping study of actions and initiatives contributing to the prevention and resolution of conflicts linked to competition for access to resources in the Lake Chad Basin, CAR and DRC. This study was financed by the ECCAS Border Program Support Project (APF-CEEAC).
This workshop took place from June 13 to 15, 2023 in the conference room of the ZION BEACH hotel in Bujumbura, Burundi. The aim of the sub-regional meeting was to develop a RECEIAC action strategy to reinforce the promotion and ownership of the revised COMIFAC convergence plan by stakeholders.
The online training course in Botanical Garden management was created and financed as part of the SEP2D Program (Sud-Expert Plantes - Développement Durable/ Sud-Expert Plants - Sustainable development). The SEP2D program is part of the international drive to support and accompany scientific communities in the South, reaffirmed at the 10th Conference of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya in 2010. It aims to strengthen interactions and partnerships in plant biodiversity between research, teaching and the demands of society.
Yaoundé, Cameroon, June 9, 2023- The COMIFAC Gender Committee, created by a memorandum dated January 11, 2023, held its first meeting at the COMIFAC Executive Secretariat Head Office. The meeting was attended by some twenty members representing the COMIFAC Executive Secretariat, technical partners and civil society organizations, including FAO, FTNS, GIZ, Rain Forest Alliance, REFADD, RIFFEAC and IUCN.
The second edition of the report on the summary of forest and wildlife offences published by the Field Legality Advisory Group (FLAG) in 2021 analyses Cameroon's forest and wildlife litigation based on the summaries (a document presenting court cases and files monitored by the forest and wildlife administration over a given period) published by the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife and obtained by FLAG over the period 2019-2020.
The quality of a blue carbon ecosystem project, essential for investor appeal, must be judged by strong social outcomes, benefit sharing, and community support, all of which can ultimately determine the project’s sustainability and contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
When it meets this month in Brasilia, the Global Environment Facility’s governing body will consider a record $1.4 billion work program and set the contours of a new Global Biodiversity Framework Fund, speeding up international efforts to confront species loss and related crises.
The Climate Chance Summit Africa 2023 will bring together on the 23rd, 24th and 2th of October 2023 at the Palais des Congrès in Yaounde 1,500 African actors from the "climate community": high-level personalities, experts, actors in the field, representatives of local governments, businesses and organised civil society.
Celebrations for World Environment Day 2023 kicked off in host-country Cote d’Ivoire, as millions of people prepare for similar activities across the world. Venues across the capital city, Abidjan – from its historic lagoon to its first modern art museum - shone the spotlight on this year’s theme #Beat Plastic Pollution.
Congo Basin Carbon brings together information on various research and education projects in the Yangambi and Luki MAB Reserves in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Through this website we hope to strengthen research networks and improve project visibility, specifically for carbon research. Tropical rainforests such as the forests of the Congo Basin comprise nearly half of the world’s vegetation carbon. Intact tropical forests represent a carbon sink at a level that is higher than other vegetation types. The issues of carbon stocks, sinks and sources in tropical forests are therefore a central topic in international policy debates on climate changes.
At last year’s United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26), 141 leaders committed to halt and reverse forest loss and degradation by 2030. Forests, particularly tropical ones, are known to play a crucial role in removing carbon from the atmosphere, partially offsetting the effect of greenhouse gas emissions. This is a highly valuable service to the global climate, meaning the world should be willing to pay to ensure it happens. In this policy note, we look at just how valuable that service is, and put that in the context of aid efforts to protect forests.
During the process of photosynthesis, trees naturally absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Rainforests act as important 'carbon sinks' stemming global heating. The Congo rainforest is the planet’s most important “lung,” new data has revealed. The world’s rainforests absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide, slowing down global warming.
The world is getting a better understanding of just how important forests are in the global fight against climate change. New research, published in Nature Climate Change and available on Global Forest Watch, found that the world’s forests sequestered about twice as much carbon dioxide as they emitted between 2001 and 2019. In other words, forests provide a “carbon sink” that absorbs a net 7.6 billion metric tonnes of CO2 per year, 1.5 times more carbon than the United States emits annually.
This brief describes the first efforts to integrate agroforestry with charcoal production in the Yangambi tropical forest landscape. Activities resulted in both increased food crop production and reforestation, as well as the establishment of producer-led local associations and greater collaboration between communities and local authorities.
The GEF Secretariat prepared this document to summarize the GEF’s potential role in a financial mechanism for the internationally legally binding instrument under negotiation under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ). The document is prepared to help inform deliberations. It also includes questions and answers to key issues raised thus far by countries. GEF’s role as Convention Financial Mechanism: The GEF serves as a/the financial mechanism for five Conventions, namely the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Minamata Convention on Mercury, Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Chemicals, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
On May 8, 2023, in the BOUN'S Hotel conference, in Yaoundé, a workshop was held to launch the process of drawing up the Cameroon Country Investment Plan (CIP) on the nexus of transboundary transhumance, protected areas, peace and security, and development. Please download the final communiqué of the workshop...
Geneva and Yaoundé, 26 May 2023. The Ministry of Economy, Planning and Land Planning of Cameroon (MINEPAT) and CAFI are launching two Calls for Expressions of Interest today to all relevant implementing organisations concerned, representing a maximum of 60 million US$.
WWF is supporting the Government of Cameroon in her effort to restore more than 12 million hectares of degraded landscapes in the country. In 2017, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife committed, on behalf of the Government of Cameroon, to restore 12,062,768 ha of degraded landscapes under AFR100 and the Bonn Challenge by 2030. Of these, 80% are in the three northern regions of Adamaoua, North and Far North; with the remainder in the high plateau, Centre region, vast forest and coastal areas (Mangroves).