As global leaders recognise the importance of a healthy environment for human prosperity, knowledge about flora and fauna is becoming more valuable and new economic models of biodiversity information are starting to emerge.
At the same time, the Internet and mobile networks offer a platform for knowledge trade and pricing unlike any communications system that’s come before.
Some of the most advanced information trade and pricing markets are taking shape in online multiplayer games.
QuestaGame has been experimenting with applying a multiplayer gaming model to biodiversity mapping and information. The results have been positive so far.
Our findings indicate that biodiversity information can indeed be priced (e.g. unique prices can be attached to knowledge about flora and fauna found in a specific location and season); and that new markets for the information can start to emerge.
The result is that as large-scale, global initiatives to mitigate the impact of climate change and protect the environment come into effect, the market for such biodiversity knowledge is likely to expand, which means the demand for pricing mechanisms will likely become more important.
QuestaGame represents an example of such a pricing mechanism.
QuestaGame is a fast-growing, Canberra-based mobile gaming app that was founded in November 2013.
The game uses biodiversity information economics to motivate players to discover, learn about, and become experts in their local environments.
Its founding director, Andrew Robinson, is a scholar in communication science and an entrepreneur who’s developed several large scale Internet ventures from scratch.
Over 85 taxonomic experts are now involved and collaborators include the Atlas of Living Australia, GBIF.org, EOL.org, the Royal Botanic Gardens (NSW & Victoria) and Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW.
QuestaGame is available on Android and iOS devices. For more information, see http://www.questagame.com.
QuestaGame have also developed internships to give HDR students (and others) the opportunity to work with them.