“Battling Illegal Timber Trade with the Xylotron”
Emmanuel Ebenyenle, Senior Research Scientist at the CSIR Forestry Research Institute of Ghana
Ophilous Lambog, scientist at the Timber Industry Development sector of the Forestry Commission
Kofi Abban, scientist at the Timber Industry Development sector of the Forestry Commission
Asi Ebeheakey, scientist at the Timber Industry Development sector of the Forestry Commission
Four research scientists are on campus this semester to learn the ins and outs of UW-Madison wood identification technology in an effort to bring the knowledge back to their home country of Ghana. Ebenyenle, Lambog, Abban, and Ebeheakey are working with Professor Alex Wiedenhoeft at the Center for Wood Anatomy Research in the US Forest Service’s Forest Products Laboratory. The Center for Wood Anatomy Research team, headed by Wiedenhoft, conducts research on wood, trees, and forests and has curated the world’s largest xylarium, a collection of wood specimens from around the globe. The team is also part of an interdisciplinary cooperation funded by the U.S. Department of State and the Forest Service to develop a “XyloTron.” According to the U.S. Forest Service, the XyloTron is an “open source, field-portable machine vision wood identification system,” essentially meaning a machine capable of determining a type of wood by simply touching it. Yet, the XyloTron is not only a handy tool for scientists, but is essential in helping to combat illegal timber trafficking. In this AFRICA AT NOON, the scientists will discuss their research and how their work here will help combat illegal logging in Ghana.