The results have shown that as much as 50% of the samples analysed for the timber industry and non-timber industry clients since January 2015 were not of the reported species.

The figures follow the National Measurement and Regulation Office’s (NMRO) Chinese plywood enforcement project, which revealed that of 16 companies investigated, 14 submitted “insufficient” due diligence systems.

“People have suddenly woken up to the fact that they are at risk,” says Nick Clifford, timber species expert at BM TRADA. “It has pushed EUTR right up the list of priorities.”

Mr Clifford said timber species found to not correspond with the species stated on documentation are often not an endangered species, but in many cases, they are a lower value wood.

He said that the biggest challenges were around the use of eucalyptus and poplar. “One plywood supplier keeps finding the product is not what it is supposed to be.

“It is common practice to use poplar as an internal veneer and then another decorative veneer – from a different species – on the outside to improve the aesthetics. While this would not necessarily be taken as evidence of underhand activity, suppliers have a responsibility under EUTR to provide the correct claims.”

It means that companies are now taking EUTR and due diligence more seriously by not just relying on paperwork but carrying out timber species verification testing.

“From an EUTR perspective all the species contained in a product or item must be included on the accompanying documentation, and can therefore be subject to scrutiny,” said Mr Clifford.