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Title: Fraud and misrepresentation in retail forest products exceeds U.S forensic wood science capacity

Source: PLOS ONE. 14(7). 13 p.

Author(s)Wiedenhoeft, Alex C.; Simeone, John ; Smith, Amy ; Parker-Forney, Meaghan ; Soares, Richard ; Fishman, Akiva

Publication Year: 2019  View PDF »

Category: Journal Articles
Associated Research Project(s):   FPL-4715-3

Abstract: Fraud and misrepresentation in forest products supply chains is often associated with illegal logging, but the extent of fraud in the U.S. forest products market, and the availability of forensic expertise to detect it, is unknown. We used forensic wood anatomy to test 183 specimens from 73 consumer products acquired from major U.S. retailers, surveyed U.S. experts regarding their forensic wood anatomy capacity, and conducted a proficiency-testing program of those experts. 62% of tested products (45 of 73) had one or more type of fraudulent or misrepresented claim. Survey respondents reported a total capacity of 830 wood specimens per year, and participants’ identification accuracy ranged from 6% to 92%. Given the extent of fraud and misrepresentation, U.S. wood forensic wood anatomy capacity does not scale with the need for such expertise. We call for increased training in forensic wood anatomy and its broader application in forest products supply chains to eliminate fraud and combat illegal logging.

Keywords: Fraud; misrepresentation; forensic wood anatomy; forest products

Publication Review Process: Formally Refereed

File size: 1,024 kb(s)

Date posted: 09/27/2019

This publication is also viewable on Treesearch:  view
RITS Product ID: 95927
Current FPL Scientist associated with this product
Wiedenhoeft, Alex C.
Research Botanist
  

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