Rare and precious wood species grow naturally throughout Viet Nam and are an indispensable part of natural forest ecosystems. The exploitation and illegal trade of these wood species has negatively impacted forest ecosystems, the conservation of genetic resources, and the environment. Over exploitation can lead to the extinction of a species, since recovery capacity is limited. The vitality of endangered, rare, and precious flora is under great pressure due to loss of habitat, environmental pollution, natural disasters, and climate change.

The identification of timber species plays an essential role in the management of timber resources and the control of illegal trade. Timber identification requires specific professional skills and knowledge coupled with practical experience and toolkits such as this one, which include timber identification guides and reference documents.

This Handling Reference Guide was developed to enable law enforcement officials to analyze and identify 35 species of rare and valuable wood for which trade is regulated or prohibited. The guide aims to facilitate the inspection and control of transport, export, and import of wood to prevent the illegal trade of timber.

This guide includes the following sections: (i) Timber trade regulations in Viet Nam, (ii) Timber identification contacts, (iii) Handling regulated timber species, and (iv) Timber identification guide.