Illegal logging destroys forests, disrupts ecological processes, increases CO2 in the atmosphere, and provides revenue for other illicit activities. Port officials, law enforcement officers, corporations, and everyday consumers need new tools to fight this scourge.
We’ve got a plan. And you can be part of it.
Timber in a Nutshell
In partnership with the World Resources Institute, Adventure Scientists volunteers are headed into the field to gather tree tissue samples which geneticists from DNA4 Technologies and New Mexico State University will use to develop genetic reference libraries for different species.
These databases will enable scientists to confirm the species and origin of traded wood products and aid customs officers in the forensic validation of a suspicious shipment. This will help officers enforce illegal logging legislation, empower responsible buyers, and thwart dishonest harvesters in the illegal timber trade.
The first phase of this project will focus on the bigleaf maple, a towering hardwood that grows along the Pacific coast of the United States and Canada. Because about one in 20 bigleaf maples possesses an incredibly beautiful wood pattern, these trees are targeted by timber thieves for their high value in the guitar and furniture trade.
This spring and summer, we’re calling hikers, backpackers, and sea kayakers to action. After training, volunteers will collect bigleaf maple samples such as leaves, seeds, or tree cores from select sites in California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.
After establishing the reference library for bigleaf maple, we will then expand to other species around the world.
We’ve Got an Idea for You
How’s this sound for your summer hiking plan?
Collect leaves like you’re a 19th-century explorer. Send them to a genetics lab like you’re a futuristic crime solver. Look in the mirror and realize you’re a 21st-century conservation hero.
We need adventurers like you to power this project to battle illegal timber.
So dust off your pack, lace up your boots, and see if you have what it takes to be a part of the next great Adventure Scientists project.
Prefer fauna to flora? Check out our Pollinators Project.
More of a roadbike person? Our Wildlife Connectivity Project is calling.
Learn more about Adventure Scientists and the work we do around the world.