December 5, 2022

Have you ever wondered what tree species your wooden furniture is made of?
Soon, your curiosity will be satisfied and you will be able to easily identify a piece of wood by using your smartphone.
This will be made possible through a mobile phone application being developed by the Department of Science and Technology-Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI) and the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources-Forest Management Bureau (FMB).
The project aims to quickly and accurately identify selected wood species through a wood identification app using Android operating system.
Mario Ramos of the FPRDI said 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. Through the mobile app, a person can verify whether a piece of lumber is legally sourced or not,” Ramos said.
The government and the wood industry will benefit from the technology in terms of monitoring illegally sourced lumber and in the long run can help in forest conservation.
“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,” Ramos said.
For decades now, FPRDI’s wood identification service has been an important part of the government’s campaign against illegal logging.
Executive Order 23 prohibits logging in all natural and second-growth forests, but allows the harvesting of trees grown in industrial plantations.
Upon DENR’s request, FPRDI experts conducted on-site and off-site identification of confiscated wood, and submitted reports, which served as legal evidence against the violators.
The mobile app project is funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations under its European Union Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Programme, and is expected to be completed by June 2021. – Apple Jean C. Martin-de Leon