A citizen science innovative project for fighting forest pests and diseases in Europe, helping specialists in the field work, for new actions and investigations Forest 112 is an alert and monitoring citizen system for pests and forest diseases, which lead to suppose the basis for researchers in phytosanitary issues.
The objective of the project is to establish a scientific volunteers citizen network, using new technologies to learn, and supply and visualize pests and forest diseases in Europe data. Thus, with this project, a task traditionally taken only by technical public administration services, will be shared and performed by citizenship. Training contents will enhance volunteers to perform these tasks properly.
Citizen science may be performed by individuals, teams, or networks of volunteers. Citizen scientists often partner with professional scientists to achieve common goals. Large volunteer networks often allow scientists to accomplish tasks that would be too expensive or time consuming to accomplish through other means. This project allows scientific teams to monitorize and supervise task performed by volunteers, to assure the scientific validity of the results obtained with this tool.
As 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.
In this scenario pest risk analysis, forecasting of future outbreaks and design and implementation of cost-effective forest protection strategies all, depend on the availability of comprehensive data at various administrative and geographical levels. International data collection on disturbances affecting forests should provide an excellent basis for improved planning and decision-making and would increase worldwide awareness of severe problems related to forest pests and diseases.
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.
Expansion of this networking
To avoid these pervasive drawbacks, FAO papers on implementing phytosanitary standards in forestry suggest some likely lines of action while reminding that networking and data sharing between people working in forestry and plant health regulators authorities is already helping detect, prevent and eradicate new pest outbreaks. FAO strongly recommends a continued expansion of this networking, and the use of ICT solutions that can assist in addressing the global challenge of pest control.
Current project (“Forest112”) concept arises from this pressing need to collect and share data on health and vitality of European-worldwide forests data that will help to analyse and assess those forest alterations that have such striking negative effects in forest ecosystem productions and therefore in the local economies.
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.
Forest112 tries to be a “Citizen Science” working instance where, as stated by Commission “Green Paper on Citizens Science in Europe”, general public would engage in scientific research. As in other Citizens Science examples, in Forest112 participants will collect data for final researchers, raise new questions and help to co-create a new scientific culture. While adding value, these Forest112 volunteers would acquire new learnings and skills, along with a much deeper understanding of the scientific work involved in forest pests control and management.
Volunteers collaborating with Forest112 platform can be not only individuals but also associations and groupings of individuals that may have a strong and convincing interest in forest ecosystems, such as members of mycological or birdwatching societies, environmental organizations, farmers associations and so on.
As stated before, platform Forest112 intends to be a citizen science working instance, implemented on a European scale, where volunteers become an operating part of scientific procedures and play a major role in the prevention and control of complex phytosanitary problems in forest ecosystems. Forest112 project has also a strong educational component and can be considered a relevant innovative tool to promote scientific culture in general public.
If you are interested in collaborating with this project, as a volunteer or as a researcher, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Very soon we will inform about the progress of the project, and we will launch the beta mobile application for field volunteers and Big Data application for researchers.
This project is funded by the European Union
Coincidences and tribute
The origin of our name is the emergency (112) of care of forests. Sometimes sometimes coincidences happen in our ordinary life, and we found this wonder:
Artist: Lawrence & Houseworth — Publisher
Title: Father of the Forest ; 112 feet circumference, Mammoth Grove.
Alternate Title: California Big Trees, 889.
Date: Created: ca. 1864?-1874?.
Current location: New York Public Library