Future-proof nature management thanks to Blockchain

Nature has always been very important to us. As nomadic hunter-gatherers, we roamed the lands, following the ebb and flow of the seasons. But today, thanks to the rise of technology, we find ourselves at the peak of technology and pollution.

We believe mankind has an obligation to maintain the environment, as we depend on the resources and services it provides. Therefore, we started to manage the little amount of nature that was left very closely.

Woods and parks are now managed and being taken care of by local governments and nature organizations. They do this by creating nature management plans. Unfortunately, this means a lot of administration. 
The creation of a nature management plan for nature conservation is an administrative burden for land owners, nature organizations, nature managers and the Agency for Nature and Forest.

If only we could manage our nature without hassle, without unnecessary administration.

That is exactly why The Agency for Nature and Forest and Informatie Vlaanderen of the Flemish Government and Kunstmaan I Accenture Interactive teamed up and developed a solution.

A groundbreaking one, built on blockchain technology.

Blockchain?

Yes. How does that work? Well, it is even more simple than it sounds.

First of all, we created a new ecosystem for transactions and interactions with the focus on a good nature and forest management. By giving a digital identity to pieces of nature, represented by geographical contour, enables them to actively play a role within this ecosystem and let them interact with other stakeholders like owners, maintainers, government employees, and contractors. Later on, the transactions can also be initiated by IoT devices, such as drones and smart meters. These devices will also become ‘active’ identities, making it possible for them to participate in the ecosystem. They will be able to initiate and monitor transactions and to undertake actions. With some imagination, user-friendly applications come in sight, which provide easy insight into claims and history, and support automatic follow-up such as timely signal function in case of mandatory reforestation, indication of ideal time for mowing, etc.

ecosystem

Many administrative processes are about retrieving and circulating data about different kinds of facts. As you might have guessed, blockchain is the ideal solution for registering these facts, with it’s default time-stamping abilities, it’s digital signatures, and the sharing of data. So secondly, we created an automated and constant registration of facts that is focussed around the preservation and evolution of nature. In stead of doing this with official documents everything is registered directly at the authentic source, the blockchain. This offers enormous opportunities for administrative simplification.

subsidies

By admitting subsidies to contours in our own digital currency (Nature Coins), we can bring transparency into automated subsidy flows for nature & forest management. From now on, every new action will instantly and automatically be registered on blockchain.

We register undeniable facts in an authentic source that is legible for all parties. That’s right, we’re talking real-time smart data. Because of the immutability of blockchain the history of these facts will be built up around a contour. That history starts with the very first registration and is built up as transactions take place.

Design for trust

Blockchain is about data governance and the exchange of value. It’s often about the back office. It’s not a cool app and certainly not a cool design, it’s very technical. Most users don’t care about this and even don’t understand this. So in order to optimally take advantage of the different advantages of Blockchain we need to provide it with a good and seamless user experience in such a way that the user trusts the system without knowing all the technical details behind it. In the end a strong user experience and perfect design are essential to bring transparency in the maintenance process. We’ve made small steps in the design and development process towards creating trust points instead of touch points for the end user.

What can blockchain technology mean for nature management?

Our blockchain is the single source of truth for registration and validation of data in function of good nature and forest management. That means processes can be followed up more quickly because everyone works directly on the same unique source.

In other words, this brand-new app offers absolute convenience and efficiency, resulting in more resources and people in the field, as it should be.

Mission accomplished!


Interested in the open-source tools we’ve created for this Hyperledger Fabric project? Have a look at this interesting post.

We’ve created a report in Dutch about the challenges and the outcome of the project. You can download the publication on the website of the Flemish government.

Feel free to contact us for a demo or any other DLT/Blockchain related questions.