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IPTES 2018 Workshop: Forensic Wood Identification

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2018
3 pages

This "in-brief" report summarizes the objectives and features of a workshop on Forensic Wood Identification, which was part of the Impression, Pattern and Trace Evidence Symposium held on January 22-25, 2018, in Arlington, VA, hosted by the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence.


The Forensic Wood Identification workshop provided scientists having little or no experience in forensic wood identification an overview of the topic. The workshop included lectures on the macroscopic and microscopic features that are useful for discrimination/classification, sample preparation techniques, and hands-on exercises. The workshop provided an overview of wood identification, including commercial aspects, nomenclature, and forensic application. Workshop participants were guided through the sample preparation techniques required for successful wood characterization. Illustrated concepts were practiced on known and unknown wood samples. Case examples were discussed, along with considerations for courtroom testimony. This in-brief report summarizes workshop material on wood structure and the identification of known and unknown samples. As with other types of trace evidence, this summary report notes that wood fragments can assist in reconstructing events involved in a criminal investigation. Through a comprehensive examination, an analyst can determine whether an unknown wood fragment originated from the same type of wood as a known sample and possibly connect the two pieces by a physical match. 11 reference listings by the workshop instructor

Date Published: April 1, 2018