Forensic Fact-Checking of Certified Wood Products

When consumers buy a certified product, they expect it to be exactly what it claims to be. In order to maintain their consumers’ trust, suppliers of these goods often bring in an independent third party to verify that what is being sold is exactly what was promised.


Forensic wood science is being employed to verify supply chain integrity. (Photo on right courtesy of Gary Dodge.)

Researchers at the Forest Products Laboratory’s (FPL) Center for Wood Anatomy Research are serving as such a third party in partnership with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). More than 456 million forested acres in 80 countries are certified to FSC standards, and more than 40,000 forest products companies participate in their certification system.

FPL researchers are developing and applying forensic wood scientific approaches to verify industry claims and enhance supply chain integrity of FSC-certified wood products, among several other objectives.

Forensic wood science techniques will be employed in the laboratory for every product that is tested. Some products are submitted for testing by FSC, and some are purchased directly by FPL in the open market for evaluation.

For more on the background, objectives, and expected outcomes of this project, please read this Research In Progress report.