From patient investments to DAO & crowdsourcing for afforestation, reforestation and plantation

Researcher Mehtap Koç presents in this article the C4EST initiative: a decentralised, sustainable and industrial forestry project carried out by experts from different science and engineering disciplines, under the umbrella of BilimKoop Scientific Research and Development Cooperative.

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Image: C4EST project

Let me tell you our story, which we call Token and DAO Based Crowdsource 4 Afforestation (C4EST). The team of our C4EST project, formed under the roof of Bilimkoop is a science cooperative which defines itself as “striving to be an innovative social organism, which shares knowledge and experience, develops very fast solutions to every problem with people from different disciplines, transforms the solutions of problems into products and new services by developing collective intelligence.” and “labour and nature-centric value production network, based on scientific processes and the benefits of a culture of solidarity and open innovation”. Our latest project C4EST, concentrates on sustainable circular bioeconomy boundary perspective for forestry and forest-based industry mostly in the Mediterranean region.

Problems facing the world we live in are well known in the forestry society and beyond. Of course, climate change is a top priority and largely the result of industrialization and urbanization. Biodiversity loss, soil and water crises are a result of our linear economy based on oil and valuation of our renewable resources with the same linear perspective without considering trade-offs. Wood biomass, an important alternative to fossil resources, continues to be an important resource obtained from forests and by providing input and output flows to bioenergy and textiles, its sectoral influence is expanding, its global circulation rate is increasing and diversifying.

Although sustainability is a central theme in the emergence of the forestry profession, with globalization, forest industries often do not sufficiently consider the environmental and social dimensions of sustainability and most of them are just a misconception like greenwashing in some parts of the world.

Before going into the details of C4EST, our aim was for the project to bring a new vision to forest governance. We believe that the sustainable circular bioeconomy concept is the only proven option for transition and for the forestry sector, together they have huge potential. We also take inspiration from international research institutions, alliances, private institutes for wood material, collaborative universities for bioeconomy and their networks, and, mostly for innovation, the EU framework mechanism effective for finance and transdisciplinary.1

Do we have enough wood biomass for the transition to a sustainable circular bioeconomy?2 The forestry community frequently encounters this question. Examples, such as various national campaigns, campaigns of environmental organizations, the EU’s discourse of 3 billion trees by 2030, strive to increase forest resources. Individual participation in reforestation is often defined by passive support, such as donations.

Photo: Pilar Valbuena (Forest Communicators Network for the Mediterranean and Near East)

The idea of C4EST was developed with a focus on the question of whether we have enough forest resources for sustainable circular bioeconomy and how we could make individuals more active. We believe that spreading afforestation, reforestation and plantation investments, which are generally accepted as patient investments in the forestry society, to individuals, will go beyond the traditional income returns with new blockchain technologies and crowdsourcing opportunities.

Today, with the impact of the internet and its connection with the physical world, blockchain and smart contract technologies—moving beyond the traditional organizations/societies that are organized in a hierarchical structure with top-down commands—decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) have emerged3 and get used in many forms from energy to science. Traditional crowdsourcing systems are vulnerable, they are centralized, and privacy disclosure, data loss and false reporting may occur. DAO-based crowdsourcing models have the ability to solve these issues4.DAOs offer significant opportunities for finance and green investment5 at the intersection of web3 and blockchain technology as a new governance mechanism in a sustainable circular forest-based bioeconomy .

C4EST aims to increase the presence of afforestation, reforestations and plantations in the Mediterranean, especially by focusing on urban areas, with the power of the individuals. It will include transparently designed decision-making processes, from the establishment to obtaining the wood product and other services, and the lifecycle processes of biomass will be integrated with other already existing carbon-focused DAO mechanisms. “Creating a promising sustainable value for afforestation, reforestation and plantations funded by crowds, using a platform which is transparent, accountable and fair is an urgent necessity.” 

This sentence that represents the core of our project includes the idea of blockchain, DAO and is at an early stage and selected for the incubation program of Chromia İnnovation Lab. After this incubation programme, all technical papers will be published.


References:

(1) Lovrić, N.; Lovrić, M.; Mavsar, R. Factors behind Development of Innovations in European Forest-Based Bioeconomy. Forest Policy and Economics 2020111, 102079. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2019.102079.

(2) Winkel, G. Towards a Sustainable European Forest-Based Bioeconomy – Assessment and the Way Forward; European Forest Institute, 2017; Vol. What Science Can Tell Us.

(3) Wang, S.; Ouyang, L.; Yuan, Y.; Ni, X.; Han, X.; Wang, F.-Y. Blockchain-Enabled Smart Contracts: Architecture, Applications, and Future Trends. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics: Systems 201949 (11), 2266–2277. https://doi.org/10.1109/TSMC.2019.2895123.

(4) Li, M.; Weng, J.; Yang, A.; Lu, W.; Zhang, Y.; Hou, L.; Liu, J.-N.; Xiang, Y.; Deng, R. H. CrowdBC: A Blockchain-Based Decentralized Framework for Crowdsourcing. IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems 201930 (6), 1251–1266. https://doi.org/10.1109/TPDS.2018.2881735.

(5) Transforming Climate Finance and Green Investment with Blockchains, Blockchain Climate Institute; Alastair Marke (Ed), Series Ed.; Academic Press.

This blogpost is authored by Mehtap Koç and originally submitted in the #WorldForestVoices website as part of the #WFCKorea blog competition