Plant Alert: a citizen science project for gardeners
The majority of invasive alien plant species were originally introduced into regions as plants for planting for horticulture. Although it is only a small minority of ornamental plant species that become invasive, this minority can have significant impacts on native biodiversity and ecosystem services and incur large costs for their control and management as well as having impacts on infrastructure and human health. When predicting potential future problematic plant species, the challenge is to identify these species from the array of species grown in gardens (for example, in the United Kingdom there are approximately 70 000 ornamental plants available to gardeners). To this effect, a citizen science project (Plant Alert) has been established in the United Kingdom and Ireland for gardeners where they can report species that show signs of invasiveness in gardens before they spread into the natural environment. By registering on the website, gardeners can list the ornamental plants that are spreading in gardens and difficult to control. A list of reported plants can be accessed on the Plant Alert website.
Plant Alert webpage: https://plantalert.org/