Smartphone apps to report invasive species

Sep 13, 2013
by WLJ

Ever see something that doesn’t quite fit while you’re out with the cattle? Have your smartphone with you? If yes, here are some apps that can help you help those trying to track and control invasive species.

Various groups across the U.S. have invested in the development of smartphone apps to make reporting data on invasive species easier than ever. There are many in existence, but here is some information on a few apps recently created by Bugwood to help identify, gather information about and to report infestations of invasive species.

Bugwood designs and publishes comprehensive applications that engage users with invasive species, forest health, natural resource and agricultural management. Most apps are regionally-specific and are free in the major app stores; iTunes for Apple products (the iPhone and the iPad) and the GooglePlay Store for Android phones. Check apps.bugwood. org/ to see if there is an app available for your region.

Invasive Plants in Southern Forests: This app is based on the U.S. Forest Service publication, “A Field Guide for the Identification of Invasive Plants in Southern Forests.” Invasions of nonnative plants into forests of the Southern U.S. continue to go unchecked and only partially unmonitored.

Basic strategies for managing invasions on a specific site include maintaining forest vigor with minimal disturbance, constant surveillance and treatment of new unwanted arrivals, and finally, rehabilitation following eradication.

I’ve Got 1: IveGot1 brings the power of EDDMapS to your smartphone. Now you can submit invasive species— both plants and animals—observations directly with your smartphone from the field. These reports are uploaded to EDDMapS and e-mailed directly to local and state verifiers for review.

Easy species reporting that captures your current location and allows you to submit an image of your sightings. IveGot1 allows for both online and offline reporting with reports saved on your phone for uploading when you have network connectivity.

Outsmart Invasive Species: The Outsmart Invasive Species project is a collaboration between the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (MA DCR) and the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health at the University of Georgia.

The goal of the project is to strengthen ongoing invasivespecies monitoring efforts in Massachusetts by enlisting help from citizens. The weband smartphone-based approach enables volunteers to identify and collect data on invasive species in their own time, with little or no handson training.

Mid-Atlantic Early Detection Network: Mid-Atlantic Early Detection Network (MAEDN) is a vast network of land managers, field experts, citizen scientists, naturalists, gardeners and others interested in documenting invasive plant occurrences in the mid-Atlantic region for the purposes of early detection, improved management and better coordination.

The current focus is on invasive plants but additional invasive insects and diseases have been included in this App. Releases of approved biological control agents can also be reported using EDD- MapS but not currently included in this App.

EDDMapS West: Provides a means of reporting new sightings of select invasive species in Missouri River Watershed Coalition States and other surrounding states, a mechanism for alerting appropriate individuals to the reports, and generates distribution maps for the reported species.

EDDMapS goal is to maximize the effectiveness and accessibility of the immense numbers of invasive species observations recorded each year. — WLJ