A new project aims to fight illegal logging by developing a tree DNA database, the New York Times reports.
The project, which is being conducted by World Resources Institute and funded by both the Norwegian government and the US Forest Service, aims to catalog the DNA of bigleaf maple trees on the West Coast, from Southern California to British Columbia, the Times adds. To collect samples, the project has also teamed with Adventure Scientists to get volunteers to pluck leaves from trees while also recording data about the trees' locations and sizes. In this way, researchers can create a database with genetic markers to be able to tell where wood came from and whether it was in a protected region, it adds, noting that DNA evidence has been used in the US in illegal logging cases.
The Times adds that Norway also views the project as a test to case to gauge whether developing such a database might be feasible in regions like Indonesia and Peru where illegal logging is more widespread.