In order to improve the market for legal domestic timber and curb illegal logging, the Forestry Bureau of the Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan has announced the launch of the "Taiwan Forest Product Production Tracking System" today (December 5th), which will integrate blockchain technology. Its development was assisted by the OwlTing Group. By using blockchain technology's "traceability", "anti-tampering", and "decentralized" features to record the production process of forest products, the rights and interests of legal operators and consumers can be protected. This is a pioneering move across the globe. It is the world's first tracking system to record the production process of domestic timber and bamboo using blockchain.
Taiwan's forestry industry was once famous throughout the world for precious Taiwan Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa var. formosana
) and Taiwan Red Cypress (Chamaecyparis formosensis
). After the logging of natural forests was banned, the price of precious wood rose exponentially; with unscrupulous businesses risking the trade anyway, there were many illegal logging cases. The lack of a credible, verifiable timber production tracking system in the past has made it difficult to distinguish between legal and illegal sources of high-value wood on the market. This has resulted in illegal timber mixing in with legal products on the market, which is unfair to law-abiding companies. Therefore, through two years of research and development, the Forestry Bureau has developed a comprehensive verification label system for domestic timber. Part of this new system is the Forest Product Production Traceability QR Code, which domestic timber manufacturers can apply for through self management and guidance. The QR code will prove that their products use domestically-produced timber of legal origin, and consumers can also use the QR code to confirm the product's source. The Forestry Bureau emphasized that raw timber or bamboo materials or wood and bamboo products that have obtained a QR code can also use the "Taiwan Wood/Bamboo" label that represents production from a legal source, allowing for easy identification by consumers.
Traditional Wood Sculpture and High-End Craftsmanship Using QR Code for Production Process Identification
Due to the high unit price of precious wood and the fact that precious wood-producing trees are often found deep in the forests, such wood is often a target coveted by unscrupulous people. Furthermore, once the timber has entered the market, its legality is almost impossible to identify. In order to prevent unscrupulous businesses from obtaining legal permits to serve as a cover for illegally harvested timber, the Forestry Bureau stopped the sale of valuable driftwood and stolen wood by sealed tender many years ago. However, due to the market's demand for precious wood products, illegal logging continues to occur. Furthermore, the wood sculpting craft, which has always been the pride of Taiwan, is also facing the problem of a shortage in local sources. Therefore, the Forestry Bureau decided to work on the sales end of the market, and after two years of research and development, the forest product tracking system was finally launched. The Forestry Bureau also called on consumers to clearly identify the label and only purchase legal wood products in order to curb illegal logging from the source.
When it comes to wood sculpting, Sanyi Township in Miaoli is the first area to come to mind. The Forestry Bureau invited the Miaoli Sanyi Wood Sculpture Association, one of the most important and representative organizations in the field, to participate in the Domestic Timber Verification System. Chairman Tsai Ren-fu also sculpted domestically produced red cypress wood in a live performance, which not only showcased Taiwan's proud craftsmanship, but also served as a testament to his determination for only using domestic timber from legal sources. The hope is that this system will also guide consumers away from purchasing wood products of unknown origin, in order to truly eradicate the abhorrent acts of illegal logging.
Domestic Timber Verification Label Queries, Application, and Consulting Agencies
After the launch of the Forest Product Production Tracking System, the Forestry Bureau will restart the sale of precious wood by sealed tender, but only qualified operators will be allowed to bid. Therefore, the Forestry Bureau is urging the industry to apply as soon as possible. If there are any questions regarding the application of the Domestic Timber Verification Label, please contact the consulting agency: Chinese Wood Construction Buildings Association (Tel: 02-33664654, Ms. Chiang).
For assistance with the application for the QR code, please contact the Taiwan Architecture & Building Center (Tel: 02-86676111#188, Ms. Chang).