Friday, March 1, 2024

Gov’t developing mobile app for automated PH wood identification

The DOST- Forest Products Research and Development Institute (DOST-FPRDI) and DENR-Forest Management Bureau (DENR-FMB) is currently developing a mobile app that will allow people to easily identify a piece of wood by just using their smartphones.

Photo credit: Freepik.com

The joint project by the two agencies aims to quickly and accurately identify selected wood species through a Wood Identification Mobile Phone Application using Android OS.

According to DOST-FPRDI’s Mario Ramos, the project will use XyloTron, a machine-vision-based wood identification system developed by the US 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,” explained Ramos.

With the technology, both the government and the wood industry will greatly benefit 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,” he added.

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 (EU-FLEGT) Program and is expected to be completed by June 2021.

For decades now, DOST-FPRDI’s wood identification service has been an important part of the government’s campaign against unlawful logging. Executive Order No. 23 strictly prohibits logging in all natural and second-growth forests, but allows the harvesting of trees grown in industrial plantations.

Upon DENR’s request, the agency’s experts conducted on-site and off-site identification of confiscated wood, and submitted reports which served as legal evidence against violators. — Apple Jean C. Martin- de Leon

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