Friday, December 12, 2014

Report Invasive Species on Your Smartphone

The biggest threat to any region's biodiversity is invasive species from other areas taking over. In order to make eradication of an invasive species financially possible for government run organizations, early detection is a necessity. Thanks to the EDDMapS West app it can be easily accomplished on any Android or Apple mobile device with cellular or wifi.

Any non-native species that cause damage to biodiversity are considered to be invasive. Also known as intrusive species, they are introduced accidentally in packing material, as crop contaminants, in shipping containers, or in cargo holds of ships. Many invasive plants have actually been brought here deliberately. Examples of deliberate introduction of intrusive species include non-native pets becoming wildlife such as people who brought raccoons into Scotland. Up to 98% of agricultural plants are non-native, although they are not considered invasive when contained in a farm.

Users with the EDDMaps West app (screenshot above) installed on their phone can report invasive plants and insects such as the red imported fire ant.

EDDMaps is a system which allows land owners/managers, universities, recreationalists, agency personnel, and concerned citizens to take photos of invasive species and report them to their state's relevant government agency. The report submitted from the user includes location information taken from the device's GPS and does not require any technical or GIS experience to use. In Oregon the information is processed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture. After receiving the report, the state agency verifies that the information is legitimate. 

by Kyle H.

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