Blockchain has the potential to bring about a step change in our ability to protect and recover natural systems. Here we outline some practice areas where blockchain could transform the impact of our sector. We appeal to nature-minded technology and policy entrepreneurs to join us on a journey of technological innovation to create better futures for nature, people and our planet.
This flyer is a forerunner of a longer report which will make the case for innovation with blockchain technologies to shape new ways of restoring nature that will generate value for the environment, society and enterprise.
Chesney, C., Jepson, P, and John, A. (2019). Blockchain for Nature & Society. WWF Panda Labs & Ecosulis, Sydney, Australia and Bath, UK.
Blockchain for Nature & Society (Flyer)
The conservation sector is facing a financial crisis. It is underfunded by billions of dollars, motivating conservationists to find alternate funding sources. It has been suggested that attracting private capital in the form of investment could solve this problem. This dissertation explores the question: can smart contracts (computer programmes that automate the transfer of funds and digital representations of objects) be used to attract conservation investment? Exploratory research into what smart contracts can afford to conservation and the creation of a model smart contract using the European Wildlife Bank as a case study were used to answer this question. It is concluded that although technologically possible to attract investment, this application is limited in scale and will not solve the financial crisis. It is recommended that the conservation sector continue to explore emerging technologies to identify more feasible solutions.
Using Smart Contracts to Attract Conservation Investment
The ability to predict regular events can be adaptive for nonhuman animals living in an otherwise unpredictable environment. Animals may exhibit behavioral changes preceding a predictable event; such changes reflect anticipatory behavior. Anticipatory behavior is broadly defined as a goal-directed increase in activity preceding a predictable event and can be useful for assessing well being in animals in captivity. Anticipation may look different in different animals, however, necessitating methods to generate and study anticipatory behaviors across species. This article includes a proposed method for generating and describing anticipatory behavior in zoos using behavioral conditioning. The article also includes discussion of case studies of the proposed method with 2 animals at the San Francisco Zoo: a silverback gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and a red panda (Ailurus fulgens). The study evidence supports anticipation in both animals. As behavioral conditioning can be used with many animals, the proposed method provides a practical approach for using anticipatory behavior to assess animal well being in zoos.