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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592
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Fraud in U.S. Retail Forest Products and Forensic Capacity

A selection of retail forest products sampled for the study and microscope slides made for their identification. USDA Forest Service
A selection of retail forest products sampled for the study and microscope slides made for their identification. USDA Forest Service
Snapshot: Fraud and misrepresentation in U.S. retail forest products greatly exceeds the forensic capacity to combat it.
Summary:

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, was unknown. Using forensic wood anatomy to test products, we found that 62% of tested products (45 of 73) had one or more type of fraudulent or misrepresented claim. After surveying U.S. experts and conducting a proficiency test, we found that annual capacity is only 830 wood specimens per year, and participants' identification accuracy ranged from 6% to 92%. With fraud and misrepresentation so prevalent in the U.S. market, this level of forensic wood anatomy capacity is inadequate. There is a consequent need for increased training in forensic wood anatomy and its broader application in forest products supply chains to eliminate fraud and combat illegal logging.
Princpal Investigator(s):
 Wiedenhoeft, Alex C.


Research Location:
  • FPL Center for Wood Anatomy Research.


External Partners:
  • Simeone Consulting, LLC
  • World Resources Institute
  • World Wildlife Fund

Fiscal Year: 2019
Highlight ID: 1331
 
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