InvaPlant - Citizen science initiative for the detection and monitoring of invasive alien flora in Spain
Alien or allochthonous species are those that have been introduced by humans outside their natural range. Some of these species successfully establish, reproduce and spread, causing alterations in ecosystems or habitats, threatening native biodiversity. These species are then considered invasive. Today, the increasing spread of invasive alien species around the world is one of the main threats to biodiversity. Understanding the distributions of these species plays a key role in addressing this threat. The public can contribute to generating knowledge on the distribution of these species by participating in data collection.
To encourage public participation in data collection for the detection and monitoring of invasive alien flora, the citizen science initiative InvaPlant was created. The target species are the flora taxa listed in the Spanish Catalogue of Invasive Alien Species, regulated by Royal Decree 630/2013, of 2 August, and those whose presence has been detected in Spanish territory from the List of Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern, in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council. Within the scope of the initiative, target species are referred to as 'invaplants'. InvaPlant promotes the citizen register of invaplants observations in Spain through its iNaturalist project (https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/invaplant).
The aim of InvaPlant is to improve current knowledge about the distribution of invasive alien flora in Spain, to raise public awareness of the problem and to empower citizens to register their presence through the iNaturalist application.
How to participate
Citizens can participate by registering observations of invasive alien flora with the iNaturalist app. All observations of invaplants in the Spanish territory are automatically collected in the InvaPlant project on iNaturalist.
To obtain quality data, at least two types of photographs must be taken for each detected invaplant: one or several of the specimen, allowing its identification, and another of the environment where the specimen is found, to estimate its abundance and increase knowledge about environments susceptible to invasion. Both the exact location of the observation and whether it is a cultivated plant should be specified.
If you are motivated to contribute to the search for invaplants, join the InvaPlant project on iNaturalist to receive updates (https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/invaplant) and encourage your colleagues and friends to join the initiative. Find out more at @InvaPlant on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.
A smartphone or camera is required to photograph the invaplants, as well as a user on the iNaturalist app with which to record geolocated observations.
Funding bodies: European Comission
Funding program: NextGenerationEU