WRI, Instituto Nacional de Bosques (INAB) of Guatemala and IUCN Mesoamerica, with support from USAID, the European Commission, and FAO hosted a workshop in 2016 in Antigua, Guatemala to explore technological applications for improving forest information management and traceability in timber supply chains. Participants discussed some of the most cutting-edge technologies available today or on the horizon.
One of the technologies that was examined, is called Stardust. The Forest Legality Initiative provides a helpful presentation on Stardust, which is a dust-like material that can be sprayed onto wood and detected only with a hand-held device. Stardust has the potential to be applied to timber and pulp and paper products as a cheaper alternative to bar-codes, radio-frequency identification (RFID) and other tracking technologies.
Stardust is applied via microscope optical markers, thus promised to be precise, hand-held and practical in-field detection devices. There are multiple markers available, they should provide instant authentication.
It is indicated that they are thermally and chemically stable and apparently almost impossible to reverse-engineer. They are supposed to be have no harmful effects on the wood or the people working within the forestry sector. After marking wood with the so-called stardust, actors should be able to designate upstream suppliers. The markers are very distinguished with each one having a unique signature. Specific devices are designed to identify and to detect these signatures. Future possibilities could include the wider technological integration into Bluetooth and cellphone app software as well as into wider online data bases of Geo locations.
Greenwood, an organization that connects buyers with producers of high-quality wood products from sustainably harvested trees, is now pilot testing Stardust’s application to some of their wood supplies.
Forest Legality Initiative: http://www.forestlegality.org/sites/default/files/Stardust_Greenwood-WRI%203.4.pdf
World Resource Institute WRI (http://www.wri.org/blog/2016/05/5-technologies-help-thwart-illegal-logging-tracing-woods-origin)