Combatting the climate crisis – reforestation with AI and blockchain
Survival of the plant, animal, and human species is under serious threat. The world’s forests – which play the crucial role of absorbing CO2 emissions to reduce climate change impact –are disappearing at an alarming rate. Their dwindling numbers endangers the very future of this planet. Large-scale reforestation can support the reversal of climate change, extinction, and rural poverty. However, to do this most effectively, trees should not only be rooted in the ground… They must live in the cloud too! Reforestation with AI and blockchain is increasingly valuable in the fight against deforestation.
AI and machine learning protect the world’s existing forests
Tree-recognition AI can ensure responsible deforestation by identifying trees that have reached an appropriate level of maturity to be carefully cut down. The automated systems are capable of identifying suitable trees from still images and can cover large areas much more efficiently than manual inspections. When it comes to illegal deforestation, AI and machine learning can analyse the sounds recorded by treetop IoT sensors for evidence of people, chainsaws, logging trucks, etc., and provide real-time notification to the authorities when unusual activity is detected.
Blockchain and drones support the world’s new forests
Blockchain-based reforestation projects, that act as a decentralised voluntary carbon market, can be leveraged to reduce individuals’/businesses’ carbon footprints more transparently. Participants purchase secure tokens on a public blockchain, which represent a traceable carbon-credit and are released as the trees grow. The globally integrated, data-driven network can trace each transaction and monitor progress through the reforestation value chain, from the capital into seedlings into trees into forests. Blockchain systems enable immutable records of carbon credit ownership and support secure transactions between parties through digital smart contracts.
Partnering blockchain technology with satellite imagery will further enable the growth of more and better forests for all. Investors could not only have the flexibility to select the location where trees are planted but also access a comprehensive overview of the status of each planted tree and validate the ROIs (social/ecological) over time. Drones can autonomously plant the seeds, as well as survey reforested areas and relay information more efficiently than people ever could. The technology can even be used to validate the diversity of seedlings for each planting site. Cutting edge technology can quash greenwashing by companies with proven, authenticated reforestation claims.
Businesses invest in reforestation initiatives that leverage cutting edge technology…
There is a growing number of consumers who prefer brands that contribute to the health of our mother earth. Businesses that support reforestation with AI and blockchain-based projects will be able to successfully engage customers through impact marketing for increased brand affinity. To ensure impact visibility for the donations or investments, each tree can have its own QR code, photographic record, and geolocation tag. Participants would then be able to access a website or app to track the tree’s progress from when entering the nursery as a seed, to its transplanting at a reforestation site as a sapling, then monitoring progress throughout its life. Companies can regularly share communication material about the forest they adopted for CSR – after all everyone loves trees! Especially with upcoming emission reduction targets under the Paris Agreement, businesses are under pressure to offset their carbon footprint…
Ultimately, the level of operational efficiency achieved through reforestation with AI and blockchain technology will enable planters to plant more trees with less money, so that individuals and businesses can mitigate their harmful actions towards our planet. Harnessing the power of technology for transparency will hopefully encourage greater giving and investment in reforestation too.
Invest in rural communities to plant and sustain traceable trees
Ideally, investment in these projects (whether by individuals are businesses) should fund tree planting by the local communities, a crucial component to the long-term success of sustainable reforestation. The interoperable global blockchain network can link tree buyers with tree planters located in the most remote areas of our planet. Open data on the blockchain can also be accessed by scientists and economists around the world to study the environmental and social impact of the planted trees, quantifying outcomes over time.
Reforestation alone may not be enough to reverse climate change, but it will certainly move us considerably closer to reaching that goal. And in tandem with other strategies, will allow us to beat it once and for all!