Remember the smartphone application, PlantTracker, which lets you track growth of Japanese knotweed? An update will be made to the app in the Spring that will allow you to alert scientists of even more invasive species.
PlantTracker already helps you identify Japanese knotweed and slow down the spread of other invasive species such as Giant Hogwood and Himalayan Balsam. The new release of the app will allow you to track and identify a whole host of more invasive species.
Since PlantTracker was launched in June 2012 it has been downloaded around 7000 times and has alerted ecologists at the Environment Agency, The University of Bristol and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology to the location of almost 2500 sites that are infested by invasive species.
'PlantTracker sightings have already allowed removal of isolated outbreaks of Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed on a tributary of the Thames, and Floating Pennywort from the Midlands and Greater London areas. And because invasive plants are being removed earlier, the app is helping reduce the cost of treatment and the amount of herbicide required,' says ecologist Dave Kilbey of Nature Locator.
The future of PlantTracker
Nature Locator, the organisation behind PlantTracker are also planning to develop apps to help record the UK's ladybirds, butterflies and invasive marine and freshwater organisms.
Another App that is being developed by Nature Locator is the ‘BatMobile' app that lets you identify bats from their ultrasonic calls using a smartphone and an external microphone.
'Engaging the public with citizen science like this has multiple benefits: it cuts the cost of collecting data; increases awareness of and educates people about conservation issues; and empowers people to make a contribution at the same time as boosting both the amount and, more significantly, the quality of the data collected,' says Kilbey.
Download the PlantTracker app
Have you identified Japanese knotweed using PlantTracker?
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