Plants at risk - become an iNaturalist and help conservation science
Citizen scientists can add observations of Sampled Red List Index (SRLI) plant species to help us monitor their threat status.
The results of the Sampled Red List Index (SRLI) project confirm what we have long suspected that plant life is at risk and it is man that is causing the greatest threat. It is hard to read all these bad news stories about the state of biodiversity without thinking ‘I wish there was something I could do’. Well, in fact, there are many things you can do – of course, continuing to support the work of of Kew, but you can also contribute directly to an ongoing conservation program through your own observations of plant life. By becoming a citizen scientist you can add your own scientific observations that will actually help us to continue monitoring the SRLI species.
There is an increasing trend of amateur scientists, volunteers, students and tourists who are taking photos of wildlife and sharing them online. Many smartphones and cameras now come with integrated GPS making it easy to 'geotag' these images i.e. record your location when the image is taken. These observations can then contribute directly to scientific projects. One such project aiming to harness the power of these ‘citizen scientists’ is called iNaturalist.
You just need to sign in and start adding your observations and you can be an iNaturalist! We believe citizen scientists can make a useful contribution to projects such as SRLI so we created a project page to test it out:
You can find the full list of SRLI species on our scratchpad page. We will curate the project and check the identifications. These observations serve several purposes such as confirming the presence of a species in a certain area, but may also highlight a new location for that species. The observations may also contain information about threats such as recent fires or habitat loss. In any case, these data are invaluable in helping us to better understand these species so that we can monitor them and re-assess their threat status. All data gathered will feed back into the overall SRLI project.
You may not be heading to the deepest, darkest forests of central Africa or the high mountains of the Andes, but as the SRLI sample list of species is global it is likely that wherever you are you won't be far from one of the species we are monitoring. So, grab your camera and become a citizen scientist, you might just help to stop a species from becoming extinct.
We hope to add more tools in the future to help you identify the SRLI species, but in the meantime check Kew’s extensive databases and resources on plant information for help.
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