Project properties

Title Forensic tracing of tropical timber
Group Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group
Project type thesis
Credits 24-39
Supervisor(s) FEM group: Prof Dr Pieter A. Zuidema
Other organisation: Dr Arjen GA de Groot, Animal ecology, Alterrra
Examiner(s) Prof. Dr. Ir. G.M.J. (Frits) Mohren
Contact info,

Begin date 2017/05/01
End date
Description Also suitable as BSc thesis topic

Up to 50% of the tropical timber traded at the European market is of illegal origin. Developing rapid and reliable methods for independently verifying claims of origin of tropical timber will help to combat this illegal trade. Tree rings, stable isotopes and DNA markers represent a visual, chemical and genetic �fingerprint� that can be used to trace the origin of timber.

Possible research questions for your thesis: 1) How can ring-width measurements be matched to climate data in the tropics? 2) Can stable isotopes (d13C, d18O) in the wood effectively be matched to regional isotopic reference data? 3) How to isolate DNA from wood and use genetic markers to trace the origin of timber?

Potential thesis topics have an emphasis on lab work for chemical or genetic analyses. Timber samples will be collected in The Netherlands or sent here, but there is also a possibility for field work in West Africa to collect additional timber samples.

For more information see:
Keywords: Tropical timber, tropical forests, DNA, genetics, isotopes, tree rings

Sustainable forest management / Tree ring analyses and wood anatomy
The Netherlands/ Europe/ America's/ Africa /Asia/Tropical zone
Used skills One or more of the following skills will be used: chemical analyses, genetic analyses, dendrochronology, programming in R
Requirements FEM-30306 Forest Ecology and Forest Management; REG-31806 Ecological Methods I