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Curious about what tree species your wooden furniture is made of?

Soon, you will be able to identify a piece of wood by just using your smartphone. This will be made possible through a mobile app being developed by the DOST- Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) and DENR-Forest Management Bureau (DENR-FMB). The two agencies’ joint project aims to quickly and accurately identify selected wood species thru a Wood Identification Mobile Phone Application using Android OS.

According to DOST-FPRDI’s For. Mario DR. Ramos, the project will use XyloTron, a machine-vision-based wood identification system developed by the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Products Laboratory. XyloTron uses image analysis, statistical processing software and the wood imaging device Xyloscope in capturing and analyzing the wood’s cross section.

“The project goal is to make sure all locally traded timber and timber products are correctly identified. Thru the mobile app, a person can verify whether a piece of lumber is legally sourced or not,” explained Ramos.

“The app will identify initially 30 commercially traded wood species in the Philippines, which include endemic, exotic and imported trees. As it can be used offline, the app is reliable even if the user is off-the-grid,” he added.

For decades now, DOST-FPRDI’s wood identification service has been an important part of the government’s campaign against unlawful logging. Executive Order No. 23 strictly prohibits logging in all natural and second-growth forests, but allows the harvesting of trees grown in industrial plantations.

Upon DENR’s request, the Institute’s experts conduct on-site and off-site identification of confiscated wood, and submit reports which serve as legal evidence against the violators.

The mobile app project is funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations under its EU-FLEGT Programme and is expected to be completed in June 2021.### (Apple Jean C. Martin- de Leon, 09 March 2021)