5.16.00 - Wood identification



New curated reference database with interlinked wood and herbarium specimens

A new article “When xylarium and herbarium meet: linking Tervuren xylarium wood samples with their herbarium specimens at Meise Botanic Garden” authored by Samuel Vanden Abeele, Hans Beeckman, Tom De Mil, Cecile De Troyer, Victor Deklerck, Henry Engledow, Wannes Hubau, Piet Stoffelen and Steven B. Janssens was recently published in Biodiversity Data Journal.

The new data paper interlinks the African plant collections of the Royal Museum for Central Africa Xylarium (Tw, Belgium) and the Meise Botanic Garden Herbarium (BR, Belgium). By interlinking both collections, the authors strengthened the reference value of each institutional collection, as more complete metadata were made available, and they enabled an increased quality control for the identification of wood specimens. Furthermore, the renewed connection facilitates the linking of available wood trait data with data on phenology, leaf morphology or even molecular information for many tree species, allowing assessments of performance of individual trees. In addition, the linked collections hold historical reference data and specimens that can be studied in the context of global changes.

The article and the dataset are available at: https://bdj.pensoft.net/article/62329/

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Yafang Yin, China

About Unit

This IUFRO Research Group will contribute to academic exchanges and cooperation among global wood identification scientists in the field of collection and exchange of wood specimens, and development of wood identification methods. As an important part of the Division 5, it is significant to promote sustainable utilization of forest products and legal timber trade. This Unit of IUFRO will also play a key role to cooperate with IAWA on the research development of wood identification. Its goals are:

  1. Establishment of a global network of wood collections and wood properties databases to share relevant data and information for wood identification.
  2. Promotion of the research cooperation among wood anatomists and relevant scientists worldwide to develop innovative and accurate wood identification tools.
  3. Promotion of the conservation of tree species diversity, legal and sustainable trade in the timber industry chains.

State of Knowledge

Use of wood anatomy for identification has been well-established for more than 100 years, and its ability to separate to genus or species groups was, and is, adequate for most purposes. But today’s identification requirements are more extensive than before. Separation to species and determination of provenance, are now important for enforcement of legal logging. Therefore, new methods, i.e. DNA, computer vision, chemical fingerprint, stable isotope etc., are needed to supplement wood anatomy-based identifications, which are under development with varying degrees of success. The new Unit will strengthen exchanges and cooperation on identification methods among international wood identification experts through the organization of international academic conferences, evaluate the potentials of the new methods and suggest ways they can be used in tandem with wood anatomy to solve new problems.

Meanwhile, wood specimens are important foundation of wood identification research. It is of great significance to enhance the academic value of the wood collection to carry out global collection and exchange of wood specimens and achieve the sharing of specimen resources and information.