ForesTrust: BioChar and Forestry Embrace Blockchain

Forest products supply chains can be managed

Tue 18 Apr 23


Wakefield BioChar, a US-based manufacturer of renewable products made from wood biomass, has successfully completed a rigorous certification process conducted by the Puro Standard, the leading carbon crediting agency.

As reported by Ledger Insights, the firm has initiated a blockchain-based tracking system for incoming wood waste shipments from lumber mills, which are then transformed into soil amendments utilized by farmers for carbon dioxide absorption.

The ForesTrust blockchain, has been introduced by the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities and has been developed by Chainparency.

Chainparency is behind ‘GoTrace’ the world’s first true, turnkey SaaS solution for the recording, tracking, and tracing of physical items on an immutable blockchain ledger.

In the case of ForesTrust,‘GoChain’ has been utilised, a new sustainable, fast and reliable blockchain which provides ‘Proof of Reputation’ for users.

How it Works

BioChar is a product made from wood waste that would typically end up in landfills. It is created by heating the waste at high temperatures using a process called pyrolysis, which limits oxygen exposure and causes the material to smolder.

Biochar is the material is made by burning ag waste with minimal amounts of oxygen. Footage courtesy of @livingwebfarms

This method can potentially make the heating process self-sustaining. The environmental advantage of BioChar lies in its capacity as a soil amendment to absorb CO2 over an extended period.

In this instance, the ForesTrust blockchain is employed to conduct a pilot for monitoring the wood waste sourced from timber mills.

Nevertheless, this process is not without its controversies.

Supporters of pyrolysis argue that it can make up for the shortcomings of recycling, whilst detractors argue that the process is just incineration.

Whilst the Wall Street Journal recently published an article supporting the process, researchers at Loughborough University have stated that the self-sustaining pyrolysis heating process used to create biochar was “thermodynamically unproven, practically implausible and environmentally unsound.”

ForesTrust early adopters

Paper firm Domtar was the founding member of ForesTrust, and this week the network signed up Thompson Appalachian, a hardwood lumber product producer. Logging events on a public blockchain enables transparency into the provenance of the wood used.

ForesTrust was originally conceived in 2020 in collaboration with IBM, but Chainparency was appointed as the technology partner last year, with three network members so far.

“ForesTrust represents the future of how forest products supply chains can be managed,” says said Pete Madden, CEO at Endowment for Forestry and Communities.

“The network will elevate the entire industry, not only by streamlining and digitsing transactions and auditing, but by displaying the sustainability of forest products through real-time data,” Madden said.

Blockchain used to target deforestation

More broadly, blockchain technology is being used by forestry to target timber providence and deforestation.

Last month, Wood Central’s Southeast Asia Reporter Ken Hickson covered Singpaore-based Double Helix Tracking Technologies who has partnered with iov42 to reduce deforestation in the UK supply chains – specifically the UK’s new digital Due Diligence Management Platform (DDMP).

Double Helix and iov42 create DDMP using DLT to tackle deforestation in sourcing and supply chains of commodities, providing secure tracking and scientific verification.
Double Helix and iov42 create DDMP using DLT to tackle deforestation in sourcing and supply chains of commodities, providing secure tracking and scientific verification.

This unique project is co-funded by Innovate UK and Enterprise Singapore to specifically target Schedule 17 of the UK Environment Act, relating to the “Use of Forest Risk Commodities in Commercial Activity”.

Similar legislation to the UK’s also applies to organisations wanting to import into Europe under the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) and the United States of America under the proposed US FOREST Act.

In 2021, the Forest Stewardship Council launched the FSC blockchain – in partnership with Preferred by Nature and iov42.  A year earlier, Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA launched its JBS Green Platform using blockchain technology to compare livestock supply transportation information. The objective was to ensure that cattle ranching didn’t contribute to deforestation.


  • Wood Central

    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.


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