BENEFITING: Adventure Scientists
EVENT DATE: Nov 29, 2016
Look around the room. How much of what surrounds you came from timber? Do you see furniture, cabinets, copy paper, packaging products, mail, decorations or even a building’s walls? What if I told you at least 10% of these products came from illegally harvested timber?
Between 1.1 and 1.7 billion people depend on forests for their basic needs largely in areas affected by illegal timber trade. Illegal logging is concentrated in many of the world’s developing countries, posing a disproportionate threat to citizens of these nations. The profits generated have led to the deaths of an estimated 950 forest defenders between the years of 2002-2014. It is estimated that there may be two murders a week that can be contributed to this illegal trade.
Illegal logging is the lead cause of forest degradation worldwide. It affects an estimated 70 countries, and often occurs in endangered species habitat, such as that of the orangutan and Siberian tiger. On a larger scale, forests process carbon and produce oxygen, and without them, life as we know it cannot exist on Earth.
According to the World Bank, the market loses about $10 billion annually from illegal logging, with governments losing an additional $5 billion in revenues. The sale of illegal timber also undercuts the price of sustainable and legal timber, driving prices lower between 7-16%.
What can we do?
Adventure Scientists can organize capable, detail-oriented, tree-loving volunteer adventurers all over the world. These volunteers will gather samples including tree cores, tree cones, stems, leaves and fruit, that WRI can use to build a comprehensive DNA reference database of tree species.
Our samples will do what?
Yes, by collecting reference material on a global scale, we would provide an open, accessible reference database needed for wood DNA identification technologies to be successful.
Why do we need a DNA reference database, and how will this help end illegal timber harvest?
Each species of tree has its own DNA sequence, and even within each species of tree, DNA sequencing differs from location. This is due to pollination restrictions; it localizes the DNA to a certain geographical area. Right now, illegal harvesters are falsifying documents on the geographical origin and/or the species of timber. These declarations are difficult for officials to disprove.
We can scan the DNA sequence of timber and provide a “fingerprint” of the wood. The DNA reference database could then pinpoint the species and origin of that piece of timber. This will empower government officials to verify declaration documents and refuse export/import of illegal timber. This will greatly decrease the value of illegal timber deincentivizing the practice.
What can you do?
We need to raise $25,000 before the new year to get this project moving in full swing. Now is the time to act.
Because illegal timber harvesting is a global issue, and we are all responsible. Adventure Scientists needs your donations to be successful. Help us solve this global issue.
To show our appreciation for your donation we will be giving back to all who donate!
$30 – A membership to Adventure Scientists. This will keep you in the loop for all current and future projects, with updates on the efforts towards ending illegal timber harvest.
$60 – A membership, plus our 100% organic tee with our new new logo.
$100 – A membership, plus our new 100% organic tee, plus a matching eco conscious trucker hat, magnets and stickers!
$150 - A pair of Sunskis!
$250 - Chance to win an exclusive Adventure Scientists Osprey pack