In the context of the Nature Map project, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), in collaboration with SDSN and the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), has launched two citizen-science campaigns.

Human Impact on Forests Campaign

The Geo-Wiki team at IIASA is pleased to announce their new citizen science Human Impact on Forests Campaign that launched on April 25th. Natural forests are essential habitat for wild animals and that is one of the reasons why we aim to determine and analyze the disturbance from human activities. The conversion and degradation of natural forests is not only considered among the greatest threats to biodiversity, but also an important source of greenhouse gas emissions.

We aim to gather forest data for 110,000 unique locations across our planet. These will provide us with valuable information for developing an improved, accurate global layer of forest management intensity. This improved map will also deliver further information about forest ecosystems, protected and observed forest status changes, biodiversity assessment, and other important aspects.

The campaign will take place in three stages, each stage will focus on different biomes, as follows:

  • 1st stage – Tropical forests (50,000 locations), started on April 25th
  • 2nd stage – Temperate forests (35,000 locations), starting on May 9th
  • 3rd stage – Boreal forests (25,000 locations), starting on May 16th

To participate, login (or register if you are new to Geo-Wiki) as you click on “Launch Geo-Wiki” on our Geo-Wiki page. Then, click “Enter Application” on the right, and select “Human Impact on Tropical Forests” from the drop-down box on the left (Geo-Wiki will remember your settings and take you directly to the Human Impact application next time). You will be taken through a Quick Start Guide the first time you enter the application. You can access this guide, our Gallery of Images as well as many other helpful resources, from the main interface at any time during the campaign.

You can find more information on this campaign on the IIASA website.

iNaturalist Campaign: NatureMap-plants

NatureMap-plants is a citizen-science project aimed at improving our knowledge of flowering plant species distribution in four countries – Indonesia, India, Ethiopia and Turkey – that are extremely rich in plant species. Currently, these countries have insufficient plant observation data available to be able to identify areas of high plant species richness and to ensure that threatened plants are sufficiently protected to avoid their extinction.

To fill those knowledge gaps, keep up with changes in plant distribution and to know where endemic and threatened plants need to be protected, we have created four iNaturalist projects that automatically collect wild flowering plant records in form of geolocated photos added for these countries. As much as possible, these photos will be identified by expert botanists and volunteer naturalists in the iNaturalist community. The data will be used by Royal Botanical Gardens Kew and other research institutes around the world to expand and update their knowledge of plant distribution and ecology. This new data and knowledge will then be shared with conservation scientists and agencies so they have the best available information to help these species thrive in the future.

We ask everyone to take photos of wild flowering plants and post them to iNaturalist (www.inaturalist.org), including close-ups of the flowers or fruit and the whole plant, the date and the location, to enrich the overall data available in the four iNaturalist projects.

If you have a smartphone or a camera and you encounter a flowering plant in the wild (not planted by humans), take a few good photos of it! Chances are your photo can be a valuable record for this plants conservation, and the species may one day enjoy further protection thanks to your photos!

For questions about the project contact visconti@iiasa.ac.at or Xavier.DeLamo@unep-wcmc.org.

For a quick-start guide to identifications in iNaturalist go here and click on the tab Identifying Observations. If you have already an iNaturalist account and want to know about each project, follow the links below.

Ethiopia

Turkey

India (link coming soon)

Indonesia (link coming soon)