5.16.00 - Wood identification



The Database of macroHOLZdata is Free and Available in German, English, and Spanish

The knowledge about recognition and utilization of the most important internationally traded timbers is of prime importance to forestry and the wood industry as well as timber trade and even control authorities. As an important tool for this purpose, the database of macroHOLZdata developed at the Thuenen-Institute for Wood Research has been programmed as an app for smartphones and tablets. The “macroHOLZdata” is an innovative digital tool for macroscopic wood identification and information retrieval for educational facilities and professionals in the wood industry and trade. The app offers:

  1.  interactive identification of 150 common trade timbers (hardwoods and softwoods) based on macroscopic features to be observed with the unaided eye or with a hand lens,
  2.  high-quality colour illustrations of wood characters and timbers featuring transverse (10x) and longitudinal surfaces (natural size),
  3.  complete timber descriptions accompanied by high-quality colour illustrations depicting characteristic wood features,
  4.  database offering pertinent information on wood properties, processing, and utilization,
  5.  a textbook (glossary) with definitions, explanations, procedures, etc. for most features used in the description of the timbers in terms of wood structure, properties, and utilization (specific information retrieval),
  6.  innovative tool for teaching at vocational schools and higher educational facilities with a wood technology and forestry-related curriculum (also suitable for Do-It-Yourself education).

The app is also suited for further education and training in forestry and timber industry as well as self-study for all those interested in wood.

Please download the app from the App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android) using the search term macroholzdata.

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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.