TreeTAG is an emerging smartphone-based supply chain traceability system. The Next Generation Report by the International Network For Environmental Compliance and Enforcement examines the TreeTag system in one of its case studies. The most important findings are summarized here:
The system, developed by Earth Observation Systems, tracks the location of logs transported from the forest to the mill. The system is infrared and GPS-based, which creates a unique biometric record of individual trees that have been legally authorized for harvest and uses a smartphone app to transmit data to a tracking system. The technology will enable manufacturers to track the wood they buy from ‘forest to factory’.
The system is designed to circumvent opportunities for bribes and falsification of data that allow the trade in illegally cut timber to flourish. Using proprietary algorithms, TreeTAG generates a one-time code that captures precise data on the potential maximum yield of each tree, as well as the species, time, date, and exact location where each tree is felled. If a tree is cut outside of a government-authorized logging concession, the system will not generate a “tag.”
The TreeTAG generator app does not require an Internet connection to generate codes that track the logged trees. Internet connectivity is needed only for periodic uploading of the information to TreeTAG’s servers. The app is designed to accommodate local government regulations and can be programmed to stop generating tags should certain protocols be breached. The system can also be configured to assist law enforcement with the detection of illegal poachers that often manage tooperate unseen under the rainforest canopies.
Read the full report here
Partly funded by the World Resources Institute, Earth Observation Systems pilot tested their system working together with the Sociedad Civil Custodios de la Selva (CUSTOSEL) in Peten, Guatemala. This pilot will see a sustainably harvested mahogany tree tracked from the point of logging, through milling and export / import to final delivery to Bedell Guitars.
Check out a detailed report on their collaboration and on their experiences in the Guatemalan jungle here.