Blockchain and cryptocurrency might be useful in the forestry industry, especially when it comes to sustainability. But will the trend take off?
There are many industries in which blockchain tech can be applied, and one of the most overlooked might be the forestry sector. It accounts for a relatively small slice of global GDP―just 2%, or $400 billion, according to a past report from the FAO. Nevertheless, it’s large enough to attract some attention in the blockchain world.
Generally speaking, blockchain is useful in industries when it comes to supply chain management. Blockchains ensure that data is immutable and correct, assuming that the blockchain has access to the data in question. In this case, the forestry industry can track wood materials from start to finish―or from forest to sawmill.
This approach is useful due to the forestry industry’s need for certified wood products, which must be sustainably harvested and sourced from legal areas. Furthermore, carbon credits from sustainable forestry practices can be represented as cryptocurrency―and several efforts of this sort are already underway.
The Forestry Stewardship Council, a major certifier, is currently piloting a private blockchain for the forestry industry. The goal is to confidentially share information between trusted industry partners. For example, the FSC suggests that its blockchain could be used to address volume errors without exposing information.
The FSC is seemingly concerned with existing data, but there are a few academic blockchain proposals that focus on data collection. Vilkov et al. have suggested that Russia’s Far Eastern Hectare could be monitored with GPS tech. Meanwhile, Dudder et al. have suggested that DNA tracing could be used to verify timber supplies.
Some researchers have even created virtual prototypes. Figorilli et al. have simulated a forest in Italy, using RFID tags and blockchain technology…