EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 10 - 2019 Num. article: 2019/219

Mapping invasive alien plants with citizen science

A citizen science initiative was launched in the province of Trieste (North East Italy) to map the distribution of three invasive alien plant species: Ailanthus altissima (Simaroubaceae -  EPPO List of Invasive Alien Plants), Ambrosia artemisiifolia (Asteraceae - EPPO A2 List) and Senecio inaequidens (Asteraceae - EPPO List of Invasive Alien Plants).  The initiative was launched by the project SIIT (Strumenti interattivi per l’identificazione della biodiversita – interactive instruments for the identification of biodiversity), coordinated by the Department of Life Sciences of the University of Trieste.  Workshops were organised where participants were trained in identifying the three species and on how to upload observations.  Control data were used to test the reliability of the citizen science data.  Control data was collected by trained botany students in the field.  A total of 1 826 observations were collected by citizen scientists and 1 684 identifications (92 %) were positively validated by experts. This highlights that for the three species, misidentification by citizen scientists is a relatively minor issue.  The citizen science data corresponded well to the actual distribution of the three species in the study area.  This study highlights the value of citizen science in identifying and mapping the distribution of invasive alien plants.  


Luigi P, Pittao E, Altobelli A, de Pascalis F, Laganis J, Martellos S (2018) Mapping invasive plants with citizen science. A case study from Trieste (NE Italy). Plant Biosystems 153(5), 700-709. https://doi.org/10.1080/11263504.2018.1536085