The Latin America Project is funded by the US Forestry Service, and is a collaborative effort between Kew Gardens, the US Forestry Service, FSC and Agroisolab.

The Latin American project, like the
US Oak Project, will generate collections of physical samples to directly benefit the range of emerging forensic methods, such as stable isotope ratio analysis (SIRA), wood anatomy, metabolomics, and DNA-based technologies.

Due to the need to better regulate illegal logging and deforestation within Latin America, particularly in expensive and rare hardwoods, this project will aim to gain reference samples of Meliacea Switenia Spp and Meliacea Cedrella Spp as well as other species from 4 Latin American countries (Peru, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua) from legitimate, sustainable FSC managed forests. These reference samples will be used to describe the geographic variation in timbers within the whole countries.

For the Latin America reference sampling project, there are two different methods for collecting samples in the field – collecting wooden plugs with use of the Pickering Punch kit, and collecting wooden disc sections with use of a chainsaw. All samples must be collected, handled, stored and delivered according to the guidelines described in the Standard Sampling Protocol.

Further details can be found in the materials:

  • Reference Sample Guide

  • Instructions on How to Use the Pickering Punch

  • Instructions on How to Register Observations and Data on Tree Snap

 

After selection of which sampling technique to be used, collectors are required to secure a sampling kit consisting of:

  • A signed Sampling Acknowledgement and Consent Form from each certificate holder who must acknowledge and accept the sampling process on their site/property

  • A proforma for the Collection of Reference Samples, which can be completed on site or immediately before delivery to local point of contact

  • Mobile phone (with downloaded app) and charger(s)

  • Markers/pens

  • Sheets of newspapers/wrapping paper or other containment material as needed for the disc slice/leaves/twigs/flowers/fruits

The wooden plug is collected through using the Pickering Punch. The concept behind the Punch is that a metal tube is driven into a tree using a small sledge hammer, and a wooden plug is extracted through use of an attached slide hammer.

If you are sampling wooden plugs, you will need:

  • A Pickering Punch kit

  • A sledge hammer

  • Coin envelopes (1 per plug)

  • Ziplock plastic bags (13x11” / 33.02 x 45.72cm) to place envelopes with plugs inside

  • Silica gel beads (30g inside each ziplock bag) to extract moisture from the plug and keep the sample dry

The wooden disc is collected from a tree with a chainsaw. Please remember to use correct safety equipment when collecting these samples.

If you are sampling wooden discs, you will need:

  • A chainsaw

  • Newspaper and tape to wrap the discs

Stable isotope analysis requires the collection of minimum viable samples which consist of:

  • Two plugs collected via the Pickering Punch or two discs extracted by chainsaw from the same tree

  • For identified species of tree: two leaves and/or two branches from the same tree that have at least two leaves attached to them

  • Hammer the Pickering Punch into the target tree at around waist-height. Any higher could lead to inadequate force needed to drive the punch into the tree

  • Unscrew the cap, and then screw the slide-hammer onto the bar and remove it from the trunk with sliding motions

  • Replace the safety cap and remove the sample

  • Insert each plug into its own individual envelope (please ensure that only one sample is placed in each envelope)

  • Place envelope in a ziplock bag with 30 grams of silica gel

  • Write down sample information on each envelope: Species, common name, GPS coordinates

  • As needed, obtain 2 leaves or branches with at least 2 leaves attached to them

  • Wrap each leaf or branch in newspaper and, depending on the characteristics of the sample, press them so that they dry more easily

  • Identify the GPS location of the tree using the application and selecting ‘Observation – Other’ option

  • Fill in the information fields with all the necessary comments and data

  • Take photographs of the tree, trunk, surroundings, soil, and the collected samples

  • Extract the disc with a chainsaw

  • The dimensions should be: W: 2cm, L: 10cm, thickness: 5cm

  • The disc can be cut transversely, as long as the core portions are included

  • Include all cores in the disc, if the tree has multiple cores

  • Wrap each splinter/crosscut of the disc and label it for identification

  • As needed, obtain 2 leaves or branches with at least 2 leaves attached to them

  • Wrap each leaf or branch in newspaper and, depending on the characteristics of the sample, press them so that they dry more easily

  • Identify the GPS location of the tree using the application and selecting ‘Observation – Other’ option

  • Fill in the information fields with all the necessary comments and data

  • Take photographs of the tree, trunk, surroundings, soil, and the collected samples

  • All samples must be labelled with a unique sample number

  • Samples must be protected or dried to avoid damage or decomposition when being transported and delivered

  • The collector must ensure that the tree and collected sample does not show signs of infestation or infection

  • If the application cannot be accessed, GPS coordinates and the proforma sampling format must be used to manually record data at the sampling site

  • Ensure that the samples are only from identified species

  • If possible, the leaf samples should be collected from the same tree from which the sample is taken. If not possible, record the location of the sample site and use leaves of the same species but with a different location (making sure to note that leaves of a different location have been used)

Chainsaw Sampling

Leaf Sampling

For further information about how to take samples for the Latin America Project, we've made some videos explaining about the samples that should be obtained for the project.

If you would like to know more about timber origin analysis, or how Agroisolab verifies the origin of timber, have a look at our timber page where we explain the science behind origin testing in timber in more detail.

1 Welburn Business Park

Welburn

Malton

North Yorkshire

YO60 7EP

+44 (0)1653 619444

©2018 AGROISOLAB UK

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