How does the Open Forest Protocol platform work? The platform will cross-check monitoring data recorded on the ground using a mobile app with data from satellite, IoT, drone, and AI technologies confirmed by 'validators' such as government agencies, tech companies, universities, development agencies, and environmental NGOs. If a forest project is judged to be successful, then the company or organisation operating it will have evidence enabling them to access carbon financing. The OFP uses blockchain to record all data and transactions on an open distributed ledger, and those behind the project frame this as central to their aims to create a more transparent, standardised, and decentralised system of forestation projects in efforts to address climate change.
Given that carbon financing and funding for forestation projects are key to the stated outcomes of the OFP, it seems important to consider the role of capital in stucturing how forest projects are developed and validated. What interests, incentives, and implicit values are at work not only in forest projects, but also validating agencies, and how do these shape what constitutes successful projects? As other logbooks suggest, there are also questions we might ask about the use of blockchain and cryptocurrencies in forest management, for example in terms of energy consumption, and in terms of ideas of value they reproduce and transform. The OFP is built on the NEAR blockchain, which claims to be more energy-efficient than other similar technologies and carbon neutral by offsetting emitted CO2 through tree-planting in Colombia, Zimbabwe, and the United States.
Emerging platforms such as the OFP generate new modes of understanding and validating forest environments. They mobilise a nexus of private, state, and local actors, offsetting practices, and validation measures that seek to build transparency through open-source data and transactions, but also remain entangled with existing political and economic structures of calculating forest value.