Invasive field

Let me know if you think the new required Invasive field is okay or needs modification. The idea is that it could be used for various invasive monitoring efforts, like http://austintexas.gov/invasive or others. Any thoughts welcome.

Posted by marcopperman marcopperman, June 06, 2013 19:03

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See the observation I just added of Alligator Weed:

http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/272194

It is already marked with a red "!" next to the species. Hovering over it displays "Introduced in Williamson County, TX, US: arrived in the region via anthropogenic means".

Is this what you mean by Invasive?

Posted by mikaelb about 8 years ago (Flag)
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Well, "invasive" usually implies a little more than how it was introduced. Does it aggressively out-compete native species? There are many plants used in landscaping that are from somewhere else... Brazil, Africa, etc.... that can't thrive here without our care. Hibiscus comes to mind. But then there are the nandinas, ligustrums, japanese honeysuckles, etc... that take over and exclude natives.

But that's a useful icon that species seems to have in your observation. I have an observation of ligustrum that doesn't have the same sort of info, and it's definitely introduced/invasive.

The invasive info in the observation would allow the Plants of Texas database to be exported and sorted by that status. Any observations of invasives could then be forwarded to county extension agencies, the city, citizen science groups, etc.

Posted by marcopperman about 8 years ago (Flag)
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Mikael, do you follow texasinvasives.org?

"An 'invasive species' is defined as a species that is non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. (Executive Order 13112)."

Posted by marcopperman about 8 years ago (Flag)
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Thanks! So we're including non-native in the definition of invasive. Sounds good. I'll fill out the new field as accurately as I can, but I expect to be using "unknown" a lot of the time.

Posted by mikaelb about 8 years ago (Flag)
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I discovered that this new field prevents me from adding observations to the project with the iPhone app. Unless there's a way to add this field to the app.

Posted by mikaelb about 8 years ago (Flag)
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Okay, thank you for pointing that out. I see that too. I've written to support to ask them.

Does your observation post to iNat, but just not the group? Or does it refuse to sync it at all? If it syncs it but just not to the group, you could add it later. But I realize that's a workaround.

I might disable the field for now. BUT... on your other point, it seems like 99% of what you post is native/non-invasive.

My goal with adding this field was to create another way to report the instances of invasives we encounter. I don't know about you, but I encounter a lot of them, but my iNat-centered reporting brain goes for the pretty native stuff and tries to ignore the invasives as much as possible. I'd rarely considered reporting it.

But there's a real push within the City of Austin's public lands to map invasives right now because there's grant money attached to the effort to map and control them as much as possible. And, there's the Texas Invaders site, which maps them from all over Texas. And they have their own app for doing that. But I spoke to the project coordinator for Texas Invaders, and she'd be willing to have the data from iNat if it passes muster. And especially because it can go to them already verified (currently they have like 2 staff people who look at every texasinvaders entry that's posted to verify them.)

Posted by marcopperman about 8 years ago (Flag)
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It sounds like the new field is very worthwhile -- that's great that we can potentially use iNaturalist to help the two projects you described.

The required field just prevents the iPhone app from adding the observation to the Project. It still gets sync'd. Then another step is required to add it to Plants of Texas via the web site.

Would a curator/manager/admin of the project be able to set this field for other people's observations? Often I just don't know if a plant is an invasive or not. Maybe someone who did could periodically search for observations newly added to the project and set the field?

Posted by mikaelb about 8 years ago (Flag)
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Well, there's a great list of the worst offenders in Texas by ecoregion at texasinvansives.org:

http://www.texasinvasives.org/i101/ecoalert.php

But here's the response I got about the issue in the iPhone app:

"Hi Marc,

We're going to be releasing a version of the iPhone app soon that allows users to fill out these fields, probably by the end of the month. However, I would strongly advise against using required fields unless they are really, really required. For a general group like "Plants of Texas" I don't think you should make that field mandatory, because you will automatically exclude people who can't tell if something is invasive or not.

-ken-ichi"

So I think for now, I am just going to disable the mandatory nature of the field. Fill it out if you want and know. Maybe when things smooth out some, We can re-visit this.

Posted by marcopperman about 8 years ago (Flag)
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The thing defaults to an answer of "no", whether or not i can answer the question

Posted by ellen5 about 5 years ago (Flag)

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