Forest112

People as Fieldworkers

An ICT platform for crowdsourced forest management

 

The problem

FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations) has repeatedly warned in its reports on forest ecosystems management, both native and introduced pests pose one of the greatest threats to this planet forests, a fact quite often overshadowed by a much sharper media interest in the occurrence of fires, events that apparently attract more public attention. 

 

Forest pests are a global problem and therefore national Forestry Authorities have to look beyond national borders to develop effective solutions. Despite many improvements in phytosanitary protection, new forest pests continue to materialize due to increasing international trade volume and transport speed. Climate change also appears to have a relevant role by providing conditions that help to materialize a pest or allowing some species to become more serious pests in their native range.

 

Unfortunately, effective comprehensive monitoring of forest ecosystems is an expensive process, which makes it almost unachievable not only for emerging countries but also even for some industrialized nations that are not capable to rightly integrate risks of pest outbreaks in their management plans. So information availability on forests significantly affected by pests and diseases continues to be poor and data collection methods are highly variable and (at best) questionable. New methodologies need to be devised to collect and analyse data on particular pests and diseases.

 

Our solution

Forest112 is an ICT support tool for forest ecosystems researchers and managers that efficiently provides massive information on forest pests and diseases resorting to volunteer citizens to perform field data collection and sharing and trying to raise both forest ecosystem knowledge and awareness in general population.

 

Objective

Forest112 aims to establish a network of citizens who act as volunteers in field work for the study of pests, diseases and invasive species that affect our forests. In addition, we  try to raise public awareness of the problems of our forests

 

Create a tool that enables researchers to classify results from the temporal and spatial distribution of different phytosanitary problems. These results can serve as field research.

 

 

The Platform

  • Forest112 is a citizen science project, implemented at European level, where volunteers become an operational part of scientific procedures and play a decisive role in the study, prevention and control of problems in forest ecosystems.
  • From their mobile, through an app, citizens report data on forest issues. So, tasks traditionally carried out by universities or public administrations, are now shared by citizens. Training contents in the platform will enable the volunteers to perform these tasks efficiently.
  • This citizen science platform allows researchers to analyze collected data and to use these data in their research. Forest112 also guarantees the other way communication between researchers and volunteers, allowing scientists to alert the citizens on investigations that are ongoing, so that citizens can report data on these specific alerts. 
  • Forest112 also has a strong educational component, which makes it an innovative tool to promote scientific culture in the citizenship.