Blockchain and big data to conserve forests

BBeing competitive in business means not only being able to adapt to change and challenging challenges, but also not being afraid to become a leader in the industry.

The old ways that the economic sector is still living need to be updated and modernized in line with the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

It is necessary for the general welfare and for the individual. Ukrainian business has nowhere to go: if it wants to have a “tomorrow” in our globalized world, it has to keep up with global trends.

We are talking about introducing a number of innovations into production and management processes: VR and AR (Virtual and Augmented Reality), robotics and automation, big data, artificial intelligence and biotechnology.

Responsible consumption protects the forest

Indeed, it is sound pragmatism that will help achieve the global goals by changing the linear economy into a cyclical economy – a closed-loop economy.

Cyclical economics focuses on responsible consumption and waste of resources. Waste becomes a raw material for new products, that is, it is beneficial and at the same time not harmful to the environment.

If we want to be competitive in the EU market, most production waste must be recycled. According to the principles of circulating economy, you can use the method of successive use of wood. Saves fossil fuels and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

This method assumes that the furniture is first made from primary raw materials, and then converted into new products, crushed and pressed into chipboard.

On a true industrial scale, serial use is still in its infancy, as the necessary logistical and technological processes are not yet widely available. However, there are possibilities. Research shows that wood is used 46% more efficiently than a single use.

In 2019, the new “EU Forest Strategy 2030” was approved as part of the “European Green Path”. It promotes more climate-friendly and biodiversity-friendly forests, the need for sustainable timber use, and encourages the use of a circular economy.

One of the markers that can be used to determine if a company meets the principles of sustainability is the FSC certification. FSC is an international non-governmental organization that supports environmentally and socially responsible forest management.

By obtaining this certification, the company confirms that the raw materials come from FSC-certified forests, whose supply chain can be traced. Modern technologies greatly facilitate the process of obtaining and confirming the certificate.

Blockchain Against Shadow Forest

Blockchain technology can also be beneficial for the FSC, where forestry supply chains are still dependent on paper documents, providing ample opportunities for unscrupulous participants for fraud.

For the past two years, the organization has been testing the capabilities of the blockchain to confirm transactions. Ukraine and China were the first countries in the world to join the testing of the blockchain timber traceability project.

The FSC Blockchain Beta has been running since 2021. The program focused on supply chains in high-risk countries. The companies participated in the test, and it is important to clarify that due to transparency the likelihood of such problems can be minimized.

Increased data security and transaction tracking capabilities will reduce the administrative burden and certification cost of validating supply chains.

Blockchain can reduce errors made by people entering information within the FSC system without requiring certificate holders to place confidential business information on central servers or public technology platforms.

The use of this technology will ensure that confidential commercial information is transmitted and that users will only have access to data intended for them. In addition, the level of integrity of the FSC system will increase.

The World Forest ID is an important tool that the FSC uses to verify the origin of wood in supply chains.

This technology allows you to identify wood using only a sample of the fibers by species and place of harvest. Now you can check the origin of the wood and make sure that it is not cut down, for example, in virgin forests.

One of the priorities of the World Forest Identifier Consortium is to collect timber samples, particularly in FSC-certified forests, to create a database. By the way, the area of ​​\u200b\u200bthese forests in January 2021 amounted to 230.1 million hectares.

The database will be the basis for testing wood identification. Radioisotopes, DNA and mass spectrometry will be used for this purpose. Modern forensic methods will make it impossible to sell timber from virgin or unwanted regions, such as the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

The Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC) is implementing another innovative tool – the use of geodata. This allows for a deeper assessment of the situation in the industry and improvement of operations.

Landsat (an international satellite image project) has been able to trace the impact of illegal amber mining on forest ecosystems and related environmental issues in northern Ukraine.

The experience of audit services during closure has shown that GIS tools allow to make auditing more effective. Part of the work can be done remotely, focusing on elements that cannot be controlled and analyzed automatically (for example, employee working conditions).

FSC has developed its own GIS portal. So far, it is only available to reviewers, and soon it is planned to make it open to all involved in the forestry industry, business, ecologists, and activists. The information from the portal can be combined with updated satellite data and check suspicious forest areas.

The program provides access to geospatial data on forest cover loss, pristine forest landscapes, protected areas, indigenous peoples’ and communities’ lands, waterways, and data on the boundaries of certified forest areas.

In the process of launching an important component of the GIS – FSC portal on the map. It is a geospatial platform that collects data on FSC approved forest boundaries voluntarily submitted by forest owners or their users.

The map allows you to upload forest boundaries to the FSC portal to view the boundaries of a specific forest and to upload information that may be of interest, such as forest loss and increase, indigenous lands and protected areas.

These tools will not replace government oversight or review, but they will accelerate positive change. Energy for development will be provided by the forest industry and companies from other sectors, which are new investments and opportunities for responsible enterprises.

Column is a type of material that only reflects the author’s point of view. It does not claim objectivity and comprehensive coverage of the topic in question. The point of view of the editors of “Economic Truth” and “Ukrainian Truth” may not coincide with that of the author. The editorial office is not responsible for the accuracy and interpretation of the information provided and acts exclusively as a carrier.

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