Origin detection of illegal Russian timber imports

Picture of plywood (13 layers).

Recently, the Belgian Federal Department of Environment seized a large volume of plywood in an investigation concerning illegal imports of Russian timber. ENFORCE played an important role in delivering crucial evidence through its services. 



Since the 10th of July 2022, a strict EU embargo on the import of Russian wood is in place. Even so, there are still clandestine routes through which illegally imported timbers may end up on the EU market. At ENFORCE, we developed a partnership with World Forest ID. This is an international organisation that developed a database fit for routine use in origin detection of various temperate timbers (such as birch) in regions such as Eastern Europe, the Baltic States, Finland and Russia. The detection is done trough the SIRA (Stable Isotope Ratio Analysis) technique, which in a nutshell returns a varying signal depending on the geographical origin of the wood. ENFORCE takes care of the necessary identifications beforehand, the sample preparation for SIRA as well as the communications and reporting to the requesting party. It is this partnership that allows the Belgian Federal Department of Environment, as well as importers, to request an analysis of the origin of timber for certain species.